The Pack http://thepack.unm.edu Student Stories at The University of New Mexico Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:12:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 71725995 Another week in Phuket? http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/another-week-in-phuket/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/another-week-in-phuket/#respond Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:12:14 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15584 Thailand has been amazing! After a week in Phuket the plan was to hop on a plane and make our way to Vietnam. We bought tickets, packed up all of our stuff and went to return our motorbikes. After my friend payed 10,000 baht for the bike that he crashed, we hopped in a taxi […]

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Thailand has been amazing! After a week in Phuket the plan was to hop on a plane and make our way to Vietnam. We bought tickets, packed up all of our stuff and went to return our motorbikes. After my friend payed 10,000 baht for the bike that he crashed, we hopped in a taxi to get to the airport. When we arrived we went to the ticket counter and the lady asked us for a visa. To our disappointment we did not have one. We had thought that you could apply for visa on arrival. All our hopes to go see Ha Long Bay and eat egg rolls and Pho flew away with that plane 😢✈. The biggest bummer was wasting those flights but they weren’t very expensive anyway. On the bright side we got another week on a beautiful island in Thailand🏝. We went right back to the motorbike place and rented some more 😅. First we went to the Phuket elephant sanctuary🐘. This is a wonderful place where they rescue elephants abused and injured for the sake of tourism. We got to learn all about the elephants, watch them play in the water and even feed them! The next night we went down to one of the boxing stadiums to watch a real Thai boxing match (ringside seats and a free tee shirt for 35$) 🥊. There were 8 fights and 4 of them ended in the first round by knockout!😵🤕 It was crazy to see how fast these fighters could kick people in the head. The next day we took a boat tour to Phi Phi islands 😎(actually pronounced pipi). This was probably one of the coolest things i have done in thailand so far. All day we stopped at different coves and jump off into the beautiful turquoise water with our snorkels and fins and sea tons of sea life. Rainbow colored fish, sea anemones, sea urchins, i even Swam with sharks! We had to actually get back on the boat in this specific cove because there were too many sharks. Afterward we went to a beautiful white sand beach and ate at a buffet inside a cabana. By the time me and my friends got home, we were too tired to do anything😴. On one of the last days i met a Thai girl that spoke Chinese! I knew i had to leave but we went out to lunch anyway. It was great because her English wasn’t very good, my thai was non existent but we could speak chinese to each other. It was especially funny when a Chinese person overheard us talking😅. That is about the rest of my thailand trip. I know there is much more to discover and i will definitely be back, but i have to say I’m pretty excited to get back to China 🙂. Cheers! See you next time.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0140.JPG

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Back to the Grind ‘Bos. http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/back-to-the-grind-bos/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/back-to-the-grind-bos/#respond Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:11:27 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15577 Well, Lobos, I don’t know about you, but winter break was everything I needed. After a long and draining dead week and finals week, I left Albuquerque for the month. I traveled home, went on road trips, and slept a whole lot. It was exactly what I needed to refresh. But this post is not […]

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Well, Lobos, I don’t know about you, but winter break was everything I needed. After a long and draining dead week and finals week, I left Albuquerque for the month. I traveled home, went on road trips, and slept a whole lot. It was exactly what I needed to refresh.

But this post is not about my break—though I’m sure you would love to hear about it. This is a welcome back post so… WELCOME BACK LOBOS.

While some of you might be dreading logging back into Learn and checking your syllabi on a daily basis, this is actually very good news. 

If you did well last semester, this semester is an opportunity to keep the good mojo rolling. If you didn’t do as well as you hoped last semester, this is your fresh start. If this is your first semester, it’s your turn to leave your Lobo paw print on campus. 

My last semester went pretty well, so to keep the momentum, I’ve set a few goals. This semester, I’m trying to save money (even if that means I have to take less coffee breaks at Satellite), get a 4.0 GPA, and work on my time management.

I’ll keep you guys posted on how that goes, and happy welcome back week Lobos!

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Mentally Preparing for the New Semester http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/mentally-preparing-for-the-new-semester/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/mentally-preparing-for-the-new-semester/#respond Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:10:56 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15559 When December 14th hit, I was sure I would have plenty of time to mentally recover and  prepare for the new semester to hit. I started making lists of scholarships and internships I would apply for during 30 days of what I assumed would be twiddling thumbs. I now sit in a local library in […]

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When December 14th hit, I was sure I would have plenty of time to mentally recover and  prepare for the new semester to hit. I started making lists of scholarships and internships I would apply for during 30 days of what I assumed would be twiddling thumbs. I now sit in a local library in the middle of nowhere that I call my hometown feeling the pressure of several middle of the month deadlines of those said scholarships and internships. I think that this low key panic is just an indicator of how great my break was rather than how truly talented I am at procrastinating…

I was somewhat worried about coming back for the break. I was going back to Idaho feeling so far removed from high school and unemployed. What was I going to do? This was the first winter break I have had where I had no homework. It was a really odd thing. I thought for sure I would be productive and I definitely was the first two days, but I started to realize how nice it was to sleep in every day and stay on the phone with my roommate for hours at a time.

There was plenty of fun things I got to do being back in town. I got to meet up with all my old friends and co-workers. These catch ups could also be called spending a ton of money at random burger restaurants but nonetheless worth it. I got a kick out of everyone who still thought I went to Arizona for school. One thing I noticed while recapping the last four months was how much of a life I have built for myself at school. Being so far away from home and having basically no one from Idaho go to UNM, there are so many friends and experiences and of course inside jokes that no one in my hometown knew about. I never expected to miss even ABQ so much. I had a friend over break tell me she started to re-watch Breaking Bad just to see clips of the city. We truly have fallen in love with this place.

In between severely missing New Mexico, I went on a really awesome road trip with a friend. We started in Eagle, ID and stopped at Craters of the Moon right at sunset. We hiked around and headed to Lava Hot Springs, ID where I go to experience snow in a hot mineral pool. I will tell you it tripped me out a little, so counter-intuitive and so cold getting in and out. The next day we took the scenic route to Logan, UT through Bear Lake County. We ate lunch and went snowshoeing right on the beach and headed through Cache National Forest, which if you ever get the chance should totally go check it out. The views were breathtaking. In Logan, UT we went snow tubing and ate at a cute diner. On our way back, we stopped in Twin Falls, ID at Magic Mountain Ski Resort where I cross country skied for the first time. This was such a fun trip and it made me want to explore NM way more so expect more post on those upcoming adventures. And if you are anything like my California friends who are like I have no idea what you are talking about, here is a map:

Winter Adventure Road Trip Map

While I had fun, I am ready to start school back up. I need school work and due dates to keep my productivity up and I need the fun and chaotic energy of my friends at college. I think coming back to Idaho was a nice vacation that reset my stress levels but I am ready to get back to ABQ and school. I hope you all are as well and good luck this semester. Here’s to a great one (fingers crossed)!

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Budapest http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/budapest/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/budapest/#respond Fri, 11 Jan 2019 21:58:52 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15552 Is there a better way to relax after a long semester than to juggle airport security, transportation, bags, and check-ins? Not in a million years, those are the best. (Disclaimer: This is a joke.) But that is what I decided to do, and so a month ago I scheduled a flight the day after my […]

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Is there a better way to relax after a long semester than to juggle airport security, transportation, bags, and check-ins? Not in a million years, those are the best. (Disclaimer: This is a joke.)

Hungarian Parliament building

But that is what I decided to do, and so a month ago I scheduled a flight the day after my last final to Budapest, Hungary. I had read and heard that Budapest is very beautiful during the winter, and I had always had it on the list of places to visit, so I thought, why not, let’s do it.

Szechenyi Baths

When I bought my flight to Budapest, I booked the morning direct flight from MAD to BUD, which left Madrid at 6:50am. I didn’t think about the implications of booking a flight that early when you use public transportation to get everywhere, even though friends had warned me of the early flights before… the public transportation such as the light rails and the subway do not start until 5:30 or 6 in the morning… which is too late for me to be able to get from my house to the airport and also board the plane. So I slept* in the airport the night before. (*I wouldn’t really call it sleeping or say that I got a lot of it, the floor of airports are cold and dirty.) But I made it to Budapest, and that was what was important. I was able to sleep that afternoon in the hostel I was staying at. 

Tram in Budapest (in front of Gellért Hotel
Breakfast in Budapest

As aforementioned, I stayed at a hostel while in Budapest called Hostel One Basilica (part of the Hostel One group of hostels). It was a super fun experience, and I would definitely recommend it if you are traveling to Budapest. The whole hostel situation was one that I really enjoyed and which made my time in Budapest a lot better because I was able to make friends and meet people that were traveling from everywhere in the world. The hostel that I stayed at was also nice because every evening they would provide some sort of dinner for everyone, after we would play drinking games, and then after that we would go out to various ruin bars or other clubs in Budapest, which is very nice for someone like me that was traveling alone and wanted to go out, but that doesn’t know enough about Budapest to know where to go out (and plus I don’t speak a word of Hungarian). 

View from the Citadella

Although I spent a large part of the evenings at the hostel or with the friends that I made there, I used the daylight hours (of which there seemed to be fewer than in Spain) to explore the city of Budapest, and I crossed the Danube multiple times exploring both the Buda and Pest sides of the city. I would definitely recommend visiting the city if you are ever in Eastern Europe, it has tons of cool European architecture, Turkish baths, huge castles, churches, museums, and government buildings. I can’t say that I have visited a lot of European cities during the winter, but Budapest was definitely snow-covered and beautiful in the winter weather with snow, fog, some sunlight, trees, and huge buildings everywhere. It was certainly cold (by Madrid standards it was cold x100000), but I was still able to spend 8 hours or more outside every day if I was bundled up. 10/10 would recommend. 

St. Matthais Church
Parliament Building daytime

While my return to Madrid was almost as harrowing as the flight to Budapest, it was less interesting, but it will suffice to say that I made it with a little bit of margin. And 18 hours after I arrived back in Madrid I was back in the MAD airport… on my way to surprise some of my favorite people (but that’s a story for another day). 

Fisherman’s Bastion

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Szechenyi Baths
Painted inside of St. Matthais
Hungarian Statue of Liberty
St. Stephen’s Basilica

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Holiday Season in Japan 😊 http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/holiday-season-in-japan/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/holiday-season-in-japan/#respond Sun, 30 Dec 2018 20:03:19 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15536 Hey everyone, and happy holidays! I hope you all have had a great break so far! So, for the holiday season in Japan I decided to go to a few illumination festivals throughout Tokyo and it was very lit to say the least. (Ba tum tis). I was able to attend illumination festivals in Ginza, […]

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Hey everyone, and happy holidays! I hope you all have had a great break so far! So, for the holiday season in Japan I decided to go to a few illumination festivals throughout Tokyo and it was very lit to say the least. (Ba tum tis). I was able to attend illumination festivals in Ginza, Roppongi, and Shibuya.

So, Ginza was interesting in that I was able to witness how much Japan loves Christmas. The reason I say that is because before going to the illumination festival, myself and some of the other exchange students went to a Christmas market that was held near Giza Park. This Christmas market was fun and very interesting as foods and trinkets both from Japan and Europe were being sold. There was a booth where one could buy Japanese deserts and right next to it was a booth where one could buy French food. After attending the Christmas festival, myself and some of the other exchange students headed over to the illumination festival.

At this first illumination festival is where I learned another interesting aspect about Japan. Not only does Japan love Christmas, but they also love Disney, especially Frozen. The reason I say that is because this illumination festival was Frozen themed. In addition, every 15 minutes there was a segment in which the theme song from Frozen and another song would play in relation to the light making for a really cool light show.

A few days later I headed over to Roppongi to check out other illumination festivals. Fun fact, this illumination festival is the one that Japan is most known for. So, what makes this illumination festival different than the others? Well when you walk into this festival not only are the trees decorated with Christmas lights, some of the trees are decorated to look like champagne glasses. In addition, there are some trees that are decorated with some unique blue lights so when mixed together with the champagne glass looking trees, it truly feels like you are in another world. After viewing these trees there is a fantastic light show synchronized to music. This light show was so amazing I can’t put into words how great it was. The location of this light show was also perfect in that while you are watching this light show, a view of Tokyo Tower was in the background.

The next day myself and one of my international friends went to the blue cave illuminations in Yoyogi Park near Shibuya. This one was really cool because from afar it just looked like trees lit up with blue lights but when you walked in it felt like you literally entered a blue cave. I will admit it was so blue it took my eyes a minute or two to adjust to just how blue it was, but after that it was truly an awesome experience. In addition, while walking in the blue cave, Christmas music would come on once in a while and the light would go to the beat.

Overall, I guess you could say Christmas in Japan is not only lit, but I was enlightened to see how another part of the world views Christmas.

If you are interested in seeing photos of all these illuminations I have posted photos on my Instagram @isaacxmaes. I would post photos here, but the files are too large. 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.

いろいろ  Iroiro                         Various

 あお               Ao                               Blue

                                                                            

ひかり            Hikari                          Light

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How to pack a suitcase… the smart way! http://thepack.unm.edu/ravn-s/how-to-pack-a-suitcase-the-smart-way/ http://thepack.unm.edu/ravn-s/how-to-pack-a-suitcase-the-smart-way/#respond Wed, 26 Dec 2018 20:04:10 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15504 Christmas break gives many opportunities and time to travel! However, hardly anyone puts any effort into packing their suitcases to fit everything they need in it! In this video I’ll teach you how to pack for your trip and fit everything you want to take! I spend a lot of time traveling since my parents […]

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Christmas break gives many opportunities and time to travel! However, hardly anyone puts any effort into packing their suitcases to fit everything they need in it! In this video I’ll teach you how to pack for your trip and fit everything you want to take! I spend a lot of time traveling since my parents live in different states and this method saves me a lot of time! I can pack up my suitcase fast and somehow fill up my carry-on suitcase with more things than I can wear! I hope you learn a few helpful tricks to make packing a little easier to go on your trips this break! It’s also great to try coming back from vacation so you can fit all those new gifts (or socks) into your suitcase! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Ravn 🙂

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End of the Semester!!! http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/end-of-the-semester/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/end-of-the-semester/#respond Wed, 26 Dec 2018 19:58:23 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15507 Well folks, that’s a wrap. (On that semester, not really on anything else. I will be back next semester…and later with another blog).  An interesting fact about the Spanish education system is that the exams for the fall semester for Spanish, year-long, and Erasmus students take place in January… yes, after the holidays… after you […]

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Well folks, that’s a wrap. (On that semester, not really on anything else. I will be back next semester…and later with another blog). 

La Puerta de Sol, Madrid

An interesting fact about the Spanish education system is that the exams for the fall semester for Spanish, year-long, and Erasmus students take place in January… yes, after the holidays… after you spent a month/a few weeks off from school. I think its ridiculous, but then again… I also have never had the desire to memorize things and study for a month (or at all). A lot of Spanish students are okay with this system as it gives them time during the vacation to spend 10 hours of the day studying, memorizing, torturing themselves, or whatever, but I think it is weird and not fun. I don’t want to be worrying about classes and exams during Christmas break. Because I am year-long student technically should have to take the exams in January but I asked nicely and all my teachers let me take them in December, so I am truly all all finished. (Actually I just just finished everything because I had two assignments due after my exams were all finished… the last one was submitted at 11:50pm on December 22, five minutes before it was due.)

I know that I haven’t talked about my classes on this blog very specifically, but rest assured that I did [most of] the work that was assigned, and I received grades for some things, and I took some tests. Anything past that I cannot guarantee, yet. Hopefully by the end of January I will get some exam grades back and the final grades for the majority of my classes so that I can know how the semester truly went. Overall, I feel confident that I passed my classes. So that’s good. 

I don’t remember if I mentioned the names of my classes in an earlier blog post, but for anyone who would like a recommendation for classes at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, this is a paragraph for you. This semester I took four classes at the university and one online class for GPA purposes (I’ll explain later). The classes that I took were all related to International Relations/Studies, to Europe and to Peace, Conflict, and Diplomacy, which is a concentration that you can choose at UNM. The classes were “Security, Peace, and Conflict Resolution,” “Human Rights,” “Economics of European Integration,” and “History of Spain in the 20th century.” I would recommend all of these classes as very interesting and enjoyable* classes (*unless you don’t like sitting in a history lecture in Spanish for 3 hours a week then don’t take the history class (there is an English section of the class though)) (*and if you don’t know any economics (like me), then the economics class could be difficult (it was difficult, but doable and interesting)). Other than those exceptions above, the classes were all good, albeit in some ways disorganized, which was a sentiment shared by almost all of the international students that I met, but we have since chalked it up to the system being, well… Spanish. Es lo que hay. (You have to come to Spain to figure out what I mean.) 

As for those of you that we interested in the GPA help, well that’s a bit more simple, and pretty well known amongst exchange students, I think. The thing to note is that with most courses that you take abroad in other countries with other grading systems and languages, the grades that you received abroad come back to UNM as a pass-fail grade (credit or no credit). So, if you take 15 credit hours that would still be 5 classes abroad, and those 5 grades would all transfer back as CR or C, which as you may recall/know, pass-fail grades do not affect your GPA, so basically your GPA doesn’t change. But, if you take an online class through UNM, which you can take from anywhere in the world, then that class is the same for all online students and separate from your study abroad and so you will receive a normal letter grade for that class, which means that if you take an easy or relatively less stressful online class while you are abroad then the grade you earn for that class will be the only letter grade on your transcript, which can be really helpful if you earn a good grade in the class. Just a little tip. Also it could potentially lighten up your workload and the amount of hours that you have to be in class abroad which could allow for more flexibility, more trips, more of whatever you want to do apart from studying. (I took the BIOL 110 online course, it was very interesting and well put together.)

Madrid

In the end, I feel good about how the semester went and besides celebrating the end of the semester, I also have to be sad because a lot of the friends that I made this semester are heading back to their respective countries and universities. Sad that with the end of the semester there has to come a parting of ways, but hopefully, it won’t be the last time I see every body who is leaving because that would truly be a tragedy. It was a good one guys, catch you around town / the globe. 

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

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Winter Break In Thailand? http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/winter-break-in-thailand/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/winter-break-in-thailand/#respond Wed, 26 Dec 2018 19:56:31 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15519 Vacation has been unreal. Leaving 45 degree weather in Chengdu, China and coming to 85 degree weather in Bangkok, Thailand. I didn’t even mind sweating all day long! 😅 Bangkok was wonderful. A huge reason it was so great is because one of my best friends Mike came and met me all the way from […]

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Vacation has been unreal. Leaving 45 degree weather in Chengdu, China and coming to 85 degree weather in Bangkok, Thailand. I didn’t even mind sweating all day long! 😅 Bangkok was wonderful. A huge reason it was so great is because one of my best friends Mike came and met me all the way from California. It had been a while since i had seen him and it was unreal to see him in another country! It is his first time out of the country so I have been trying my best to show him a good time 🤘🏼.

We went to the giant Buddha, climbed to the top of golden mountain where you could see all of Bangkok, ate scorpions, went out to Khao San Road, made local friends, and even ate shark fin soup! (As well as tons of delicious Thai food 😋). From Bangkok we flew to Phuket island. A Beautiful beach town in the south of Thailand. Here we managed to get free housing through friends! How great is this world! 😃 When we landed we had to haggle a ride with the local cab drivers to get to the house (something I have gotten very good at spending a few months in China😎). After arriving we dropped our stuff and started walking in the direction of Boat Ave (a place we heard we could rent motorbikes). The map said it was a 2 hour walk but we didn’t care. We were surrounded by jungle and a beautiful sky above our heads. Once we got to the road we managed to grab a local bus!

And it wasn’t just some public bus like in The States, it was a big colorful bus that you wave down and hop in the back when it stops. The bus was full, but the driver told us to sit with him in front. His English was good enough to get us to our destination and have a good laugh together. So I ask this bus driver “what’s your name?” And he replies “who’s!”, and I went back and said “YOUR name, what is YOUR name?”, to mine and Mikes hysterical amazement he finally said “Whos, my name is Whos😂. We ended up getting there in about 15 minutes rather than 2 hours and it only cost us 30 Baht which exchanges to less than 1 U.S. dollar. We rented motorbikes the first day and despite a fall my friend had on our way home from renting the bikes we have been zooming around the whole island on these things, Stopping at different beaches every single day.

We bought goggles and a snorkel and it may have been one of the better investments of my whole trip, along with the motorbike. The first time i put them on at banana beach i put my head underwater and saw a school of around 20 little fish! It’s breathtaking to just swim around and see so many different colors of fish. I feel as if i could live on this island and i have only been here for 4 days! Stay tuned for the rest of the Thailand trip! Cheers and happy holidays 🎄🎄.

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Bye India, I Miss U http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/bye-india-i-miss-u/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/bye-india-i-miss-u/#respond Sat, 22 Dec 2018 19:46:01 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15479 The struggle in India has now ended and I am sitting in a cold airplane to Madrid for winter break. I ended up spending my last days chilling (actually not chilling at all) in Goa, a known winter getaway hotspot for Europeans and Americans to escape the cold. My roommates were unable to accompany me […]

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The struggle in India has now ended and I am sitting in a cold airplane to Madrid for winter break. I ended up spending my last days chilling (actually not chilling at all) in Goa, a known winter getaway hotspot for Europeans and Americans to escape the cold. My roommates were unable to accompany me on my last adventure, so I decided to go for myself as a last hoorah.

Before leaving, I said goodbye to many of the people I call my little India family. My teachers and research scholars forever hold a place in my heart for their kindness throughout my stay. As I said in previous posts I primarily stayed in the sanitation biotechnology lab with GENIUSES. I have no doubt in my mind that the people I work with will change the world. I love every single one of them and they taught me the persistence, perseverance, and passion necessary in doing research that conveyed the beauty of science that made me love it. The day before I left, they gifted me with a Nilavilakku which is a lamp that is lit in the front courtyard to destroy the darkness in our minds, before the lights are switched on. The lamp invokes blessings and when I received it I have no idea why but I ugly cried in front of all the professors and students and they got it on video because I was so touched.

Of course, with a blessing comes a struggle and I waited the night before to pack 60 pounds worth of luggage in a backpack with the help of my roommates (who deserve to the world for putting up with me) hours before leaving. My last day was a struggle, but I am so grateful for my roommates who made my stay in India spectacular, especially since we all collectively had issues all the time lol. Patricia (the love of my life and my India soulmate), Anais, and Alex, I would’ve FOR SURE gotten dengue or a stomach virus without you if you ever read this.

So… I left Kerala with 4 pounds of banana chips because I can and I am not ashamed of my addiction, to Goa where I met the coolest people. Traveling allows you to grow and being in an unfamiliar place with so much uncertainty with the constant unknown creates a different confidence and reliance on yourself and strengthens your trust in others and shows the kindness of the people that help you on that journey. I’ve loved every single minute of my study abroad experience and ending it in Goa was the cherry on top. I became friends with a girl I consoled because she was having a mental breakdown about losing her laptop and then an hour later when she calmed down she offered me a ride on her scooter down to the beach and then we ended spending the entire time together. Afterwards, I ended up meeting other people who just asked to hang out and then we had the best time for 3 days to the point where they extended a day of their trip just from meeting everyone. The views were spectacular but the love and vibes from everyone I met is undefinable. The warmth I felt from their friendship was so genuine and I was overwhelmed with contentment. From late nights on motorcycles to hour long moped drives to beaches and many kingfishers, I had an unforgettable experience. I learned that people are the experience and I am so grateful for meeting the people I have met that have surely changed my view of life and of the world.

Nevertheless, I am currently wearing a crop top and sandals in Spain looking like the chaotic mess I am, freezing my absolute butt of so I am an unreliable source of responsibility for myself. Still take my word for it, life is fun with cool people and fun adventures. So, let’s see how thisEurope thing goes… <3

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The end of a semester http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/the-end-of-a-semester/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/the-end-of-a-semester/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 18:05:14 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15472 It’s sad to say that this semester is coming to an end. I will be coming back to China after break, but many of the people I shared this crazy experience with will be going home. This is one of my best friends in China. Me and Sam always went out together. We made native […]

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It’s sad to say that this semester is coming to an end. I will be coming back to China after break, but many of the people I shared this crazy experience with will be going home. This is one of my best friends in China. Me and Sam always went out together. We made native Chinese friends that we would hangout with. We would try to eat at a new noodle spot everyday. We tried to learn Ma Jiang together. It will be wierd next semester without him, but i hope to make more great friends! Before i left China i had to get some hotpot. Of course we ordered the weirdest stuff…… pig brain, duck blood, duck tongue, goose intestine, but it all tasted well (I only pictured the wierd things)🤷🏼‍♂️😁. When we got home we all went to hangout in one of the classmate’s rooms. The whole day they had been doing construction on the building across the street and as we were talking we heard the loudest sound, as if a whole building collapsed, and that’s because it did. Smoke filled the air all the way to the window where i took the first picture. The people in the noodle shops below were scrambling to close their doors. I believe everyone knew it was gonna collapse but they didn’t know it would make such a big dust cloud. You could say that was one of our last “only in China” moments together. The USAC program that i am studying abroad through also put on a goodbye dinner. It was wonderful, everybody got dressed up nicely and we went to a very nice restaurant. Even till the day we leave when we walk in a restaurant everybody looks at us and sometime even says “hello!”😅. The food we had was top notch, dish after dish after dish. It was all so good but i could literally not eat another bite. Then we proceeded to give out gifts to our amazing teachers. I will never forget my Chinese teacher. 薇老师 was the sweetest most caring woman and a wonderful teacher. My Chinese economy teacher was a very interesting woman and knew many things about China being a 20 year expat. And my Sichuan cuisine teacher was hilarious and taught us some great things about Chinese cooking. Then we got to read everybody’s expectations from the beginning of the semester till now. All the while, all the Chinese in the restaurant standing up out of their chairs to watch what is going on. It was a great end to the semester. Here i come Thailand!

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Snow, Silence and Sleeping Bags http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/snow-silence-and-sleeping-bags/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/snow-silence-and-sleeping-bags/#respond Fri, 14 Dec 2018 19:16:52 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15447 A few weeks ago,  I went camping. I will tell you right now, I am not a camper. My idea of camping is a nice cabin with running water. A friend of mine was planning on heading out to the Sandias for one of the last warm enough weekends to go camping. I thought this […]

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A few weeks ago,  I went camping. I will tell you right now, I am not a camper. My idea of camping is a nice cabin with running water. A friend of mine was planning on heading out to the Sandias for one of the last warm enough weekends to go camping. I thought this would be a lot of fun. The week was particularly rough and I needed to a break. However, my friend was referring to the “real camping,” like with a tent…

My inexperience, however, was overshadowed by the degree of stress I had that week. This was about two weeks before Thanksgiving aka professors assigning projects before a much needed break. I had a chemistry test and two projects due. I was on edge to say the least. I was basically addicted to my phone too. I think I sent more emails that week than texts. All of my extracurricular activities snuck up on me too. Suddenly, I had more research meetings than I honestly ever though I would have as freshman.

These of course were great opportunities that I was fortunate to have but when they all pile up they hit you like a ton of brick. Ultimately, I needed a break but no like a trip to the store or off campus but a break from everything. Therefore, a trip to literally the middle of nowhere sounded amazing. Plus, it was something fun to think about as I was taking on a large homework load.

The day before, I packed my backpack. I knew it was going to be cold. I brought three pairs of pants, three jackets, gloves and a hat and I one hundred percent used everything all at once. I also took two water bottles and none other than homework. We left around noon the next day. It was a little funny because it was only a thirty minute drive to peace and quiet. At one point we saw the tall buildings of Albuquerque and the next I saw the beautiful mountains I missed back home. It was such nice day and the drive was amazing.

We settled in on this small opening with a fire pit already set up. I was taught the lifelong skill of pitching a tent and walked around enjoying the scenery. There were two things that just mesmerized me:

  1. How silent everything was
  2. How weird it was to see snow on half the land and the sun on the other

During this whole trip, I started to realize how pretty everything was. It was the most relaxing thing I have done in a very long time. I was so calm I even took a nap completely out of the blue. After the whole trip, I was much more grounded and ready to take on the rest of the semester.

That night, after the nap, we made a fire and looked at the stars. I will tell you right now it was so so so so cold. I am fairly sure it was the very last day possible where camping in a tent was viable in that weather. But once the sun came up, it warmed up pretty quick. It was a good and refreshing experience. We made are way back to campus and it was much easier to finish up my homework before the week began.

It was so weird to reflect that UNM is in a huge city compared to my hometown. The population is five times larger than my city and it is constantly busy. Right outside of this metropolitan is a true sweet escape. A thirty minute drive and 24 hours reset my whole mindset and was a great refresher. With the break coming up, don’t forgot to take a second for yourself and appreciate nature.

Enjoy the break because I know I will,

Anna

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Thoughts on Winter Break http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/thoughts-on-winter-break/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/thoughts-on-winter-break/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:47:13 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15449 With the semester coming to a close, I could not help but think about returning home. Everyone is so excited to travel back, see loved ones and of course for classes to end. But the other night, I realized how much I am going to miss everyone here. It is funny to think that in […]

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With the semester coming to a close, I could not help but think about returning home. Everyone is so excited to travel back, see loved ones and of course for classes to end. But the other night, I realized how much I am going to miss everyone here. It is funny to think that in early August, when room assignments were going out, the very last place I wanted to live was in the dorms… especially a double. I was worried about who my roommate would be and shared bathrooms.

First off, roommates:

I asked around a lot before I came to UNM and I heard a lot of horror stories. I am from out of state and did not know anyone who was going to New Mexico. One day I got an email and it was this complete stranger from Massachusetts. I told her I text way more often than I email and she completely agreed. We talked briefly, but I honestly had no clue what this girl was like. Right from the start when we moved in, all of our stuff matched, even without us coordinating. It was a tale tell sign she was going to be a pretty awesome roommate.

This part is an #appreciationpost…

My roommate is honestly one of my most favorite people in this world. Her and I are a perfect match and it is hilarious to think she just dropped into my room on a whim. Both of us admittedly Instagram stalked each other before we met and we have already joked about living in a condo on the beach somewhere in ten years or so. This immediate spark happened with almost everyone else too. This is clearly evidenced by the crazy amounts of Snapchat group chats I am in. I have spent hours on the floors of my friends room talking or eating or laughing. There is truly never a dull moment.

Second off, bathrooms:

Sharing the bathroom is not as nearly as rough as I thought. There are so many showers and stalls that there is rarely ever lines, at least in Hokona. It’s low key nice because I do not need to clean the toilet or sinks either. The least favorable part is the locked bathroom part. Fumbling with the keys is not the ideal situation when you really got to go. Anyways, it is completely doable and I feel silly looking back that this was a deterrent force.

Ultimately, I came to college thinking I was going to stay in my room with the door closed. I did not feel that having a social life was something important to me. It is safe to say now, that I am so so grateful to live the dorm life. This epiphany dawned on me when there was six or seven of us hanging out in a friends room late on a Sunday night. I would like to start off and say Sunday nights are notoriously school nights and I definitely felt cool for staying up late with friends. Not only did I feel a small burst of independence, but I realized going home for the holidays means I can’t just walk a few feet and have a crazy and chaotic night full of jokes and stress relief tea.

Even tonight there was at least six other people sitting in my roommate and I’s room on the floor in chairs on beds and desks. I will miss this tight knit community so much. I love yelling down the hall when I get home “that’s my roommate” or walking by open doors just to check in on all my neighbors and friends. There is a never ending echo of laughter from all the rooms and this will one hundred percent be missed as I leave for a month.

It is something to look forward to next semester as we all start slowly leaving and if any of my friends are reading know that each and everyone of you fill my heart. See you all in a few short weeks…

Anna

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Japanese Culture Event! =D http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/japanese-culture-event-d/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/japanese-culture-event-d/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:46:28 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15455 Hey everyone! The past two weeks have been so much fun, and educational at the same time. So first the educational stuff. For my history class I was assigned to visit a temple and do a report on it. This temple was called the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple and the history on it was interesting in […]

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Hey everyone! The past two weeks have been so much fun, and educational at the same time.

So first the educational stuff. For my history class I was assigned to visit a temple and do a report on it. This temple was called the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple and the history on it was interesting in terms of how many times it was destroyed until it was finally secure. In short, it took three tries for this temple to finally be permanent without it being destroyed by a natural disaster of some sort. The other interesting part about this temple is its architecture style. The architecture style is a mix of India, Western and Japanese style architecture all in one building. I really enjoyed this assignment because not only was it educational, but the interactive aspect made the information more enjoyable to learn because one is able to see what was lectured in real time.

Okay, now the really fun stuff. I was also able to attend a culture event hosted by Meiji Gakuin University. This culture event was mind blowing to say the least. To start, when I and the other exchange students got to where the event was held, we were greeted by teachers in kimonos that told us what we would be doing throughout the day. The first thing we did was the classical Japanese tea ceremony. The tea ceremony was so much fun and provided a deeper insight into classical Japanese culture. After the tea ceremony, we partook in the classical Japanese flower arrangement in which one organizes flowers in a very specific way. What was really cool about making this flower arrangement, was how you have to cut the flowers in order to get them to stay in position. After making the flower arrangement we learned the art of calligraphy. What was really cool about the calligraphy segment was we were able to pick a Kanji we wanted to write. I ended up picking the Kanji I was assigned when I came to Japan which is the Kanji for rainforest. After calligraphy, we made Japanese style boxes which was not only fun but challenging in a good way. The cool thing about these boxes is that they are very versatile in terms of there uses. After creating boxes, we were then able to were kimonos. Kimonos are a lot more complex than one might think. There are many layers to a kimono and they are also very warm. It was awesome to not only were a kimono, but I, and the other exchange students, were able to walk around in them. Being able to walk around in a kimono was not only an awesome culture shock, but I was able to finally achieve another dream of mine which was to were an authentic Japanese kimono.

After wearing kimonos, I and the other exchange students went home. I haven’t uploaded photos to my Instagram, @isaacxmaes yet, but I will do so soon. If you decide to study abroad, and there is a culture event like the one I have described, I highly recommend partaking in it. Not only is it fun, but it allows you to have a deeper appreciation for the culture you are studying. I will be uploading the few photos I took to my Instagram in the next few days.

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.

 

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Dead Week http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/dead-week/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/dead-week/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:19:37 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15441 So, it’s dead week, and let me tell you, this year’s dead week is hitting me like a brick. I’ve basically moved into Zim, and I’m surviving off of coffee and Red Bull. Luckily for me, my classes don’t have any multiple-choice exams, so finals week will be a breeze for me. Unluckily for me, […]

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So, it’s dead week, and let me tell you, this year’s dead week is hitting me like a brick. I’ve basically moved into Zim, and I’m surviving off of coffee and Red Bull.

Luckily for me, my classes don’t have any multiple-choice exams, so finals week will be a breeze for me. Unluckily for me, I have so many big projects and essays to write that dead week might actually be the death of me.

 

Anyways, I know dead week isn’t just rough for me, so, here are some tips and tricks on how to survive dead week/finals szn without actually dying.

 

  1. Find your own study space. My favorite place to study is the Harry Potter room in Zimmerman. Something about being there that makes me focus.

 

2.Make sure you have your Lobo ID before going to Zim at night. The worst feeling is when you’re studying in Zim, and they do an ID check and you don’t have your Lobo ID on you.

 

  1. Create a to-do list/schedule for the week. This is the easiest way to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

  1. Pay attention to the details of your assignments. I am the worst with this one. There have been a few times that I have turned in assignments and didn’t receive full credit because I didn’t read the instructions fully.

 

  1. Put your phone away for at least 30-minute intervals. Again, I’m also the worst at this one.

 

  1. You can drink caffeine, but don’t overdo it. Adults shouldn’t drink more than 400 mg of caffeine. So that is 4 cups of coffee, 10 cans of soda, or 2 energy drinks.

 

  1. Stay hydrated. Caffeine dehydrates you, so get a water with your coffee.

 

  1. Make sure you eat. During dead week, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your school work that you forget to eat. Just be conscious about your eating schedule.

 

  1. Office hours are your best friend. There’s still time to meet with a professor, TA or tutor, but I’d get started on that because other students are going to start doing the same.

 

  1. If you have a test tomorrow and you don’t know it by midnight, just go to sleep. This is a more pros/cons kinda thing. What’s better staying up late to learn one tiny detail of the overall test or being exhausted during the test itself making you score lower on the overall test.

 

Good luck during dead week and finals, we all need it.

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Happy Chanukah! 2018 http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/happy-chanukah-2018/ http://thepack.unm.edu/anna-j/happy-chanukah-2018/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:19:10 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15434 Hi all! I am writing a little less this time, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah. This year the holiday spans from December 2nd to the 10th and all sorts of festivities have been happening! Chanukah is something very new to me, but I am embracing every second of it. This will […]

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Hi all!

I am writing a little less this time, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah. This year the holiday spans from December 2nd to the 10th and all sorts of festivities have been happening!

Chanukah is something very new to me, but I am embracing every second of it. This will be the first year I will truly be celebrating Chanukah. Last year, I celebrated one night of Chanukah with my friends. All of my friends and I gathered together and made matzo ball soup and latkes. First of all, I am a solid sour cream fan on my latkes over apple sauce. Second of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the exposure to all of these traditions for the first time. My journey before I got to UNM was a roller coaster. But due to the turbulent ride, I have gained so many families! One of my family units is Jewish and I was so excited to celebrate with them. However, I will be missing the Chanukah celebration at home. Fortunately, I have found my friends that are excited to celebrate it here on campus!

The photo I sent to my family back home!

Three of my good friends in the dorms are Jewish. One night, I think we were all talking about the holidays and we thinking of having a little Chanukah away from home. We were all so excited! The plans soon turned into a big group of us who wanted to participate. Tonight was the first night. We all gathered together to light the cutest and smallest menorah I have ever seen and my friends and I all listened to the prayer two of my friends said in Hebrew. We all clapped and cheered to kick off the first night! After lighting the menorah, we received chocolate gelt and wrapped dreidels just in time for a loud and competitive game. While I had to return a little early back to my room, I was full of happiness from the festivities.

When I came back to my room, I sent a picture of the menorah to my family back home. I was so excitied to share my experiences with them. I am so happy my friends are so accepting and willing to celebrate with me and others at UNM. With the holiday season just around the corner, regardless of the holiday, I hope all of your families and friends spread happiness and the holiday spirit!

Happy Chanukah,

Anna

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