Forgetting Time in Indonesia

In Malang, East Java, there are many different markers of time: the call to prayer every morning at 4:30am, the sunrise at 5:30am, the downpour of rain around 1pm. But my favorite indicator of the hour is around 6pm, when Ibrahim, who sells sate ayam (chicken skewers) outside of my host family's house, starts barbequing. …

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Weekend Excursion in Kazakhstan

My time in Kazakhstan is going way too fast. I have already been here for about two months, but it doesn’t really feel like it. The good days have definitely outweighed the bad days, and I am so grateful for having an outstanding host family and amazing friends. A memorable experience. Three weeks ago, we …

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On the Value of Language Cafes

On Saturday, I told my host mom that her cooking “stank” instead of saying it “smelled good.” This morning, when my new professor asked me when I’ll graduate college, I heard, “when did you wake up this morning” and told him “around 8.” In both cases, the sentences were phonetically close in Serbian and I …

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Душевное спокойствие – Peace of Mind

Towards the end of September, just as the weather started to cool down, we had our first Regional Field Study. We ventured out of Almaty after our history lectures on Friday, led by our fearless resident director, insightful tour guides, and our somewhat maniacal bus driver – I will never get used to the apparently …

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Exploring Kazakhstan Steppe by Steppe

It has been around five weeks since my last blog and I have felt so much progress in my language and regional studies since then that even my peers have noticed. As I write this, I am currently on my second regional field study. My first one was in Sakpek, a village in southeast Kazakhstan …

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Learning More Than A Language Through Food

Host family life provides innumerable benefits to a student trying to orient themselves in a new place and navigate interactions in a different system of social norms. However, the benefits of host family life extend beyond just helping you to settle in; in fact, four months in to host family life, I'm constantly amazed at …

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Duality of Kazakhstan

Since my previous blog post about my initial impressions of Almaty, my life has drastically changed. I’ve forged friendships with some of the language partners, mastered public transportation and developed a daily academic routine (although the 6:30am alarm clock has certainly not gotten any easier). Perhaps most notably, I have made the remarkably easy decision …

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