Exploring Russian and Buryat Cuisine

Food is an important part of travel for me. To be blunt, I like eating, so naturally this is an attractive way for me to learn about another culture. This summer in Russia I had the opportunity to explore the food of both Russian and Buryat culture. Last summer I lived in Georgia (the country) …

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My Host Family

During my first three weeks in Belgrade, I have been constantly amazed at the warmth and hospitality of my host family. Due to flight delays, I didn’t arrive in Serbia until well after midnight on a weekday, but my host family was eagerly awaiting me when I finally made it to their home. They had …

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Kazakh Wedding Ceremonies

I arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to a very busy host family. In addition to welcoming a curious American into their house for the summer, they were also preparing for one of the three to four ceremonies (spread out over a few months) that comprise a Kazakh wedding. This particular ceremony, called the sırğa …

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“Aunt Valya will have my head if I don’t take care of you!” – Gender roles in Ukraine

This morning, my host mom, Valentyna, told me that as she and her husband would both be arriving late tonight, my seventeen-year-old host brother, Ruslan, would be taking care of me today, including getting dinner ready for me. I had initially thought that he would be heating up leftover borshch in the microwave or something …

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Taiwanese Starbucks and Other Communication Woes   

I can sort my life evenly into two geographic regions.  I was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States when I was ten and have lived exactly half of my twenty years in each country.  Though I’d missed Taiwan intensely, I hadn’t been back in a decade, until I flew back for the …

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“When in Taiwan… do as the Taiwanese do.”

Since arriving here in Taiwan, I've had a myriad of new and exciting experiences. We arrived on Saturday night and had orientation the following day. At orientation, we met our program directors and student helpers. I think it took a while for me to comprehend that I was still in Taiwan as I was still …

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      Taiwan Knows How to Hold a Welcome Party

Taiwan certainly knows how to hold a welcome party. Within the first week of arriving we already get to experience our first typhoon. Being somewhat of a common occurrence, none of the local students seem to be too worried over it. They only suggest preparing some extra food and water in case the stores don’t …

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