Issue 3, 2017

Godafoss Maura Geiselman10pm

Goðafoss at 10:00 pm by Maura Geiselman

Featured above is the 2017 winning photograph by Maura Geiselman.

2017’s winning essay is Helen Savidge’s Finding the Wild.

 

Read this year’s prose  & poetry from students and check out our photos.

 

Letter from the Editors:

Dear Reader,

Learning a new language. Trying a new dish. Seeing the world in new colors and lights, sounds and smells. Understanding and appreciating the experiences of other cultures and people. Seeing that you might not be as different as you believe. Culture does not have one single definition. As you read through this issue of Flagship, we hope you see culture as a force both unifying and distinguishing. It lends itself to adventure and insight, to contemplation and growth. It has the power to build bridges across oceans and nations, between people and places.

We invite you to imagine these moments with us. Travel to South Africa where Helen marvels at the Milky Way in the clear night sky, Kes discovers a new meaning behind holding hands, and Matt observes a new cultural reverence for death.

Learn with Chelsea in the Philippines of beauty’s many forms. Trek into a small Chinese village with Nikki as they browse a vibrant marketplace of fresh fruit and Buddhist statues. Wander with Arden through a red outback of moon shadows and centuries-old drawings.

Lose yourself in Scottish lore with Emily and Gretchen, exploring Fairy Pools and the Isle of Skye. Chase rainbows over the cliffs on Achill-Croaghaun with Keri in Ireland.

We would like to thank our reading and copy editors, who helped to shape this magazine through the selection and editing process. Thank you to Jess Ram for designing the elegant magazine you hold in your hands. And to Keri for crafting the website you can visit for more experiences.

Thank you to Mark Fertig for judging our photography submissions and to Dr. Roth for judging our written submissions.

Thank you to our sponsors in the GO Office and the English Department for their support and encouragement. Lastly, thank you to Dr. Glen Retief and Dr. Laurence Roth, our advisors throughout this process Without them, this publication would not be possible.

Now, you are welcome to turn the page and begin your cross-cultural journey around the world.

Sincerely,

Gretchen Hintze, Editor

James Hoon, Associate Editor

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Interview with Megan Rudloff

Where did you GO, when, and why?

I went to Nicosia, Cyprus, in Fall 2015. I took a class trip to Greece in high school, and I really enjoyed the Greek culture and atmosphere. Since Cyprus is mainly Greek, I thought it would be a good fit for me and a new adventure. Cyprus is also an SU program, so I went with 13 fellow students. I felt more comfortable traveling with a group. I also got a two-for-one deal, experiencing two cultures at once.Cyprus has been divided between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots since a Turkish invasion in 1974.

Did you have a favorite town or city that you got to visit? Why?
My friends and I would always take the bus to Old City Nicosia, about a twenty minute ride. The homes and buildings there are more historic and less modern than those in Nicosia, where I lived. The architecture of the old city is representative of Cyprus’s many conquerors throughout history, such as Turkey and England, due to its central location near Europe, Africa and the Middle East. There is a main street in the old city called Ledras Street, where shops and authentic restaurants are located. One of the checkpoints of the island is here, which allows you to pass through to the Turkish side of the island. My friends and I explored the Turkish side often, and got to experience the clash of cultures.

What would you say was your best experience while abroad?
I had so many great experiences while abroad, but one of my favorites was traveling to Santorini. It was always a dream of mine to visit the famous island, and the views were breathtaking, straight from a post card. I will never forget the white buildings and the blue domes of the Greek Orthodox churches.
Is there anything you didn’t get to experience while on your trip that you wish you had?
I wish I would have traveled to more countries. I only went to Italy, Greece, and of course, Cyprus. But this is just an excuse to travel more in the future!
Did you eat any strange food, and if yes, what was it? If not, what was your favorite food?

I tried snails at a traditional Cypriot dinner. I didn’t like them! My favorite food was the gyro, which I ate almost every day. There was an authentic restaurant down the street from my apartment that made the best gyros. Cyprus also has the best coffee. The country is famous for Cypriot coffee, which is served like espresso, but the grounds are kept in the cup and sink to the bottom. Each cup is served with a glass of water in case you drink any of the coffee grounds.

What kinds of courses did you take abroad?
Some of my courses included a children’s literature class and a world literature class. It was very interesting to see how the study and dynamic of literature in Cyprus differs from Susquehanna University.

Interview with Kelly Grebeck

Tell me a little about yourself, like your, majors, hometown etc.
I’m an English and Publishing & Editing double major from Swoyersville, PA. In three words or so it can be summed up by; small town, coal, and bars. I’m involved in Lit Club, Transformations, Flagship, 522 Review, and I work for the English Department as an assistant.

What was the food like abroad? Anything new and exciting/that you miss?
I cooked for myself so I ate a lot of pasta and frozen meals. A weird thing I don’t miss is that they have beans and a warmed tomato for breakfast. England’s not really known for food and I couldn’t afford the cute cafes. There were a lot of adorable little pubs that I loved. Cooking for myself was good practice for living in 18th street and it was really fun because I shared a kitchen with 10 other people. The kitchen was our hangout spot—it was where everyone gathered.

Favorite memory of friends?
Shortly before we all left, we came together to cook a really nice Christmas meal where we were all together and not crazy busy with class work.

Other cultures of people you met?
My hall was odd how it worked out—two Americans, a German, rest were English with different heritages like Australian and Brazilian, one whose family was from Ireland. I thought it was really cool. A lot of people thought I was Canadian for some reason. I liked the conglomerations of different cultures in the hall.

How were you the mom?
I was just teaching them how to do simple things like cooking rice or telling if their chicken was expired. I was a go-to for all the questions and helped them feeling homesick because it was the first time for most of them. Since I’d already been away for 2 years, it was easier for me and they were surprised I wasn’t as home sick. They came to me with what they needed and I would just do my best to help.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Everything, I have to choose. Rome in general I love Rome. But then there’s the Dublin story. We were taken a ferry and a bunch of trains. The ferry got cancelled due to weather. We were on the waitlist for another ferry and we just made it. But all of our train tickets were then useless because we’d be getting to wales later than we were supposed to so we had to find a new way to Brighton. We ended up in Birmingham trying to find the airport—not the safest city—having no idea where we were going. We ran into a group of French dancers also trying to get to the airport who didn’t speak any English and we spoke little French. Communicating was an adventure. We ended up getting to the airport so we could get a bus to London. From London we took another bus to Brighton. It was an adventure.

Hardest/best part about coming home?
The hardest part was leaving England just in general the people and university had definitely become a home to me even though it’s scary big. It was sad leaving the culture and the friends and the ability to travel. The best part was getting to share my stories with people from home.

Advice for those about to study abroad/traveling in general?
Take every opportunity you can. I wasn’t going to do one trip to Bath and Stonehenge but I did and had a blast. If you can don’t worry too much about money, you’re there to experience the place and people and culture.

Interview with Danielle Boyd

Where did you go?
I spent a semester in Seville, Spain which in in the southern part of the country.

What made you choose this GO trip?
I really wanted to experience Spanish culture to the fullest. Studying in Seville allowed me to stay with a host family that didn’t speak a word of English along with experiencing some of the country’s biggest cultural events. Since I was there in the spring, I was able to experience Holy week and the April Fair which are both HUGE events in Spain, especially in Seville. People from all over the world flock to Seville for these events so being able to see how the city prepares for these events was amazing.

What is one of the most memorable things you did on your trip?
One of my favourite trips was when I went to the Swiss alps. Switzerland itself was amazing, but being surrounded by something as impressive as the alps made me realize just how immense the world is and what a small place I occupy. It was definitely one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had and one that’s impossible to put into words

Was it difficult adjusting to a different culture? Especially one where English isn’t the first language?
I think there’s always difficulties when adjusting to a new culture. I definitely missed my family and friends at first, but living in a foreign culture, especially one that doesn’t speak English, can really be an eye-opening experience. Once you get through the phase of missing home, it’s easy to notice things that are different and appreciate them. One really great thing about studying abroad is that it challenges you to see things as people from other parts of the world do.

Would you change anything about your trip?
One of the reasons I love traveling is that every trip takes on a life of its own. Although I enjoyed some parts of my time abroad more than others I wouldn’t change any of it. Even the negatives like having my credit card stolen helped me learn how to survive on my own which is something I’ll always carry with me. So no, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Would you go back to Morocco? Spain?
I loved being in both places. I definitely see myself going back to both one day, but for now I know I want to see other parts of the world. Traveling to Morocco made me realize that the world is never what you’d expect and it can take you places you’d never expect. I was nervous when I first traveled outside the US, but after coming back to he US I realized it was something I loved. My time in Europe inspired me to travel to southeast Asia this past winter which resulted in me getting my first full-time job in Taiwan.

What advice do you have for someone traveling abroad?
Don’t always do what feels comfortable. I think a lot of people travel to and study in places like London because there’s a certain level of familiarity. But the most rewarding experiences I’ve had abroad are from places that I never thought I’d travel to. Places like Morocco, Turkey, and Thailand where the cultures are drastically different were the places that I felt most impacted by. Don’t say no to a place just because there’s a language barrier or because it’s further away from the US.

Interview with Jess Mitchell

First, where did you GO?
I studied in Florence, Italy for the fall semester.

Why did you choose that location?
It wasn’t until a week before applications were due that I stumbled across the Florence program. What drew me to it was, first, the structure and amount of class offerings. Florence University of the Arts (FUA) had a whole catalogue so you could predict what you could take, which helped me because I needed to fulfil requirements while abroad. Second, FUA’s program in Florence offered some amazing opportunities that fit my majors and interests- things like journalism and writing courses, an internship program, photography classes, and built-in trips across Italy. Plus, it’s Italy! The food, the history, the arts, and the natural beauty all enticed me as I did more research. And when it was time to turn in applications a week later, I knew I was headed to Florence.

What is your strongest memory from your time abroad? It can be a good memory or a horrible one, just one that you will never forget.
My strongest memory was when I was hiking the Cinque Terre trails. I distantly remember a point where I stopped on the path and looked out at the Mediterranean Sea. I stood on a cliff that had a drop hundreds of feet below to the ocean with only a wooden fence holding me back. What I most remember about that memory was the stillness and the vastness of the sea. It made me ache inside because, in a way, it felt lonely, but also exciting. It was a feeling I had felt so many times while abroad, that lonely yet exciting feeling when you’re about to step into something unknown by yourself. When I felt that coming from the Mediterranean Sea of all things, I felt a connection to it, and eventually that encounter became the subject of a travel piece I wrote that’s featured in Flagship, “Lonely Blue.”

What is one thing that surprised you about your GO location?
I did not expect the closeness. From pictures online, you see Florence mainly from an aerial view so that you can see the Duomo, the other churches, the river, the mountains. It seems spread-out and majestic. When you’re living in the heart of the city, the feeling is very different. The buildings aren’t high, but the streets are narrow, and when you live in the historic center, there are always lots of people. I didn’t expect to have to adjust myself so much to living in that city. The noise of bells ringing every hour, the throngs of tourists and business people, and the at-times claustrophobic streets were a challenge. But after that initial surprise, I became more used to it.

What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you left for your trip?
The mosquitoes are a pest! I had read that Florence had lots of them because of the amount of water running through that city, especially near the Arno River, but that still didn’t prepare me. When we first arrived, it was 95 degrees, and there was no air conditioner in our apartment. We kept windows open at night to try and ventilate the house, but that meant we also got some unwelcomed neighbors, too. In the mornings, part of my routine was counting how many bites I got during the night- and where I got them! The mosquitoes were part of the experience, but it was something I wish I had prepared more for.

What is one thing that you wish other people knew about your GO location that they probably don’t know?
My program director, Olivia, told us on one of our first days to not forget Florence in the midst of our traveling. I think that’s so true. Even though Florence is a smaller city, not many people realize how much it offers besides The David and the Duomo. There’s so much more beyond the historic center. I don’t think people know that there’s such an extensive culture to Florence. You don’t have to travel far to find things to do on the weekends or the evenings. You have the ability to visit museums and see “the big stuff,” but you can also step beyond that and explore civilian life in the outskirts and into the country. And because it’s a smaller city, you don’t always need to take a bus. Sometimes it’s easier to just walk!

Is there anything that you wish you had done while abroad but didn’t get around to because of time, money, etc?
The big thing I missed doing was climbing the Duomo. I was so busy I never got a chance to do it. Besides that, I wish that I would’ve had the time to be a part of Italian Family Club or Chat Pal while at FUA. Both these programs give you the opportunity to learn Italian and meet new people from Florence, either in a family or friend-to-friend setting. I never got involved in that, and I wish I had.

What is one thing that you wish you hadn’t done while abroad?
I wish I hadn’t stayed so confined to the historic center of Florence. It was where I took classes and worked at my internship, but I didn’t realize until much later into the semester that there’s so much to explore outside of that. I think the historic center is wonderful, but sometimes it doesn’t offer you the full experience of Italian life because it is catered to outside visitors. I ended up navigating around there most of my days, mainly because I didn’t know where else to go. But I’m sure if I would’ve talked with some more people, I could’ve easily branched out beyond that area and explored more of the city.

What is your favorite souvenir from your trip?
My favorite souvenir is a gray pea coat from my bosses at my internship. Franz and Ilse Moser was a couple from Austria that have lived in Florence for a long time. They work at St. Mark’s Opera Company and put on opera performances and aria concerts with the help of local opera singers and musicians. Everyone in that company is so talented, and I was privileged to intern there in the patron services- and even be in one of the performances! Franz and Ilse were my bosses, but they were also like my adopted parents while in Florence. They always made sure I was taken care of. One time I asked Ilse if she knew any stores where I could buy a nice coat, and instead Ilse gave me one as a gift. It fit perfectly! The coat is not only a reminder of my time abroad, but it’s also a reminder of a couple who were so kind to me and whom I’ll never forget.

Last, do you want to go back?
Absolutely. I never thought much about Italy until I stumbled across FUA’s program. But as I learned and immersed myself, I grew to love the history, the culture, and the people. I also found what I didn’t like about it. But it was all part of the experience. I would love to return to Florence to keep exploring it and to connect with the friends that I made there. If nothing else, I also still need to climb the Duomo.

Interview with Katy Griffith

When and where did you go on your GO Trip?
I went to Brighton, England, to the University of Sussex, in the Fall of the my junior year – so, that would have been back in 2014, yeah.

You visited a lot of cathedrals on your GO trip. Is there any one in particular that really sticks out in your memory?
The one in Canturbury, I think – that was the first one that I had seen which really seemed massive. It also felt really ancient, with a really neat architecture to it. It made me think: “wow, there are no places like this in the United States – in fact, this building has existed since before people even came to the US.” Like, all of our architecture goes back to the 1600’s, at the latest – which is one of the reasons why Europe in general is such an interesting place, history wise.

Are there any favorite memories that you have from your GO trip?
Oh, definitely seeing the Coliseum in Rome. You know, because it’s the Coliseum – it’s hard to explain, but it was just such an experience. And then there was the trip I took to Dublin; I wouldn’t say that it was one of my favorite memories, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. Oh, and there was also the trip to the Harry Potter studios, where you could walk around the Great Hall, and see all the old sets and what not. I think I may have almost cried when I walked through the Great Hall the first time.

What other places did you visit on your GO trip that weren’t mentioned in your Flagship piece?
Oh, wow – huh. Most of the places were mentioned in my piece at one point or another. There was Dublin, Italy, Rome… in most of the places I visited, the big places, the big tourist sights to see, were the cathedrals. There are just so many of those over in Europe, because of the history and what not. Again, it was really interesting to see and witness.

Are there any people who you met that stick out in your mind, even to this day?
No single person in particular, but I remember that a lot of the people over there were super nice and helpful – they were willing to help people who were confused and lost and didn’t know where they were. …which I sometimes was (laughs). There was this one time on the way back from Ireland, where every single thing that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The ferry got cancelled, we were almost stuck in Dublin, we got lost, we had to talk to some French people who didn’t understand English, the town we arrived in was seemingly deserted… basically, it was a series of unfortunate events that were strung together to create a very interesting and memorable ride back.

Did you experience much of a culture shock when you went on your GO trip? How did you overcome this? Did you ever feel homesick?
No, I never really felt homesick, cuz I don’t really get homesick in general. I also didn’t experience much of a culture shock. But I guess for me, the biggest culture shock was being in Rome, where there were a bunch of vendors in the streets who would try to sell you things. Now, that would be fine, but they would really try to sell you these things – they would chase after you, getting in your face, and yelling “Buy this! Buy this!” That was certainly a bit of a shock. But yeah, I never really experienced much culture shock, mostly because of the fact that the language was shared over in England – I think that was a big part of it.

Do you often find yourself thinking back to your GO trip? Would you say that it has changed you in a discernable and noticeable way?
I do find myself thinking about it a lot. It’s always interesting to think about, because when you are in America, you think about Europe, and you think that it is such a magical and foreign place – but when you get there, you learn that, yeah, these people are just people, and these places are just places. They are very cool people and places, but you know. Of course, when you live over there, it’s an entirely different feeling, because it’s not foreign to you. For example, there was this one girl I knew over there who lived about two hours away from Stonehenge, and she told me that she never visited it. And I was thinking stuff like, “Dude, come on, we should go over there right now! What are you waiting for?” But, again, I guess it’s all relative. For me, I just thought to myself that I really need to soak this all in, because I will never see or touch anything this old again in my life.

Would you recommend the location that you went on your GO trip to other people? What makes that location so special?
Well, if it were still offered, then yeah, I would definitely recommend it! (laughs) England, I think, is a good way to go abroad, and still feel comfortable, because of the lack of a language barrier and what not. Although, I wish that I took more advantage of going into the actual city of Brighton – it’s like the San Francisco of England, I’ve found. There is just so much to do – so many clubs and what not.

Do you ever find yourself pining to go back to that location?
If I ever had enough money to do so, then yes, but just for a couple of weeks, so that I could see all the places that I didn’t get to see; I don’t know, however, if I would want to live there. Maybe a summer home… again, if I could afford it (laughs).

For people who are still unsure about where they want to go on their GO trip, do you have any words of advice for choosing a location? How did you decide upon where you wanted to go?
I decided upon my choice in freshman year – the reason I was looking at GO programs so early was because I thought the program was so interesting, and I just wanted to get a head start. I chose Brighton because it had a lot to do, and it was close to London. Also, Google Street View and Google Maps was really helpful for checking out the city and seeing what there is to see beforehand. For other people, I would say that a helpful thing to do would be to know and understand what you personally want to get out of a foreign travel experience. If you know that, then you can best choose which location plays into that desire. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you want to derive from the experience, and how comfortable you want to be. For me, I’m glad that I chose England, because I feel as though if I chose a place in which I would have felt uncomfortable, then I would not have gone out and experienced as much as I did. So, yeah, it calls comes down to what the foreign travel experience means to you.

Interview with Emily Teitsworth

You did your GO program in the UK — did you have a favorite town or city that you got to visit? Why?
During my semester in Scotland, I went on the Heartland Tour, which visited Northern Scotland including the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. It wasn’t one specific town that we visited. The trip was one of the best experiences of my life. There was such a sense of community between the tour guide and the 13 other students on the tour. The place we stayed was this tiny cottage on Loch Carron and it felt like home for the weekend we were there. My favorite part of the trip was the scallop fishing trip we went on early Sunday morning. It was beautiful and foggy and I got to hold a crab and a sea anemone and try fresh scallops. I went with my best friend, and it is an experience neither of us are soon to forget.

What kinds of courses did you take abroad?
I took three modules while I was studying at Stirling University. I took a marketing course on understanding the way consumers think, and two literature courses, one focused on Victorian language and culture and one focused on the history of Scottish literature.

Your poetry mentions classic British authors, like Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What’s your favorite book, author, and genre from the UK?
I am a sucker for Dickens. I absolutely loved reading great Expectations in senior year of high school. I find myself to be a lot like Pip. And though it is technically not the UK, I visited Dublin while I was abroad and saw the house where Oscar Wilde lived. My favorite classic novel of all time is The Picture of Dorian Gray, so it was pretty cool to see where that was written too.

We have to ask … was the weather and the food as bad as they say?
It rained almost every day. When it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy. Though once in a while there were magnificent cloudy sunsets. When it comes to food, there are a plethora of restaurants that serve Fish and Chips. (I would suggest Poppy’s in London) And I don’t even want to talk about Haggis. It’s detestable.

Did you find yourself more drawn to modern British culture (say, London city life) or the more historical culture (castles and folk tales)?
I found myself lured more to the castle and folklore side of Scotland/the UK as a whole. It feels like you are stepping back in time. One of the biggest differences between America and the UK is the rich history of civilization that the UK has remnants of. Here in America it’s hard to find really, really old relics or buildings but the UK is full of them. Also, when I visited London, it was really cool to see how the historical side of the city played off of the modern side of the city. There was no one or the other, they were one and the same.

Did you make any friends abroad? Have you kept in touch with them since returning to the states? Plan to meet up again in the future?
I made a bunch of friends while I was abroad! My best friend was Ayla Moreash and I keep in touch with her on and off over Facebook. I plan to visit her this summer since she is living in Canada. I met other people too, from Germany, The Netherlands, France, and Australia.

What was your favorite thing to do when you weren’t studying while you were abroad?
Traveling and partying. SU doesn’t have much of a night life, so it was fun to experience that while I was abroad. And traveling is the biggest part of studying abroad. You travel to so many places and once you get back home, all you want to do is leave again.

Last question: if you had a choice between going back to the UK or to a totally new place next year, what would you do?
That’s a hard question. If I had the chance to go back to Scotland, I would in a heartbeat. But I also want to experience other places in the world like India and Thailand and Australia. Maybe I would travel to other places first and then work my way back through everywhere I have visited.

Interview with Virginia Baynum

Virginia went to the Czech republic for about two weeks last May.

What made you chose a trip to the Czech Republic?
Honestly, its because I heard about how great the city was, and I don’t want to go to a place that everyone goes to on their first time out of the country, because this was my first time out of the country. It has all that culture, so I thought that it would be really cool. Seeing the things that we did there, like going to the concentration camp, which I wrote about, I thought that would would be really beneficial because you can’t get that in the States.

What did you notice about the people you met?
I don’t mean to put down America, but they take way better care of themselves. If you just look at the people they’re way more put-together. It could just be the city atmosphere of it, but the city was very clean. You saw beggars, but they weren’t the type of beggars you would see in New York City. They left you alone. They didn’t come up and talk to you and ask you for money. That is one thing with Europe. Everyone left you alone. The people that owned stores and things like that, if you didn’t want to buy anything they didn’t bother you. No one pressured you for anything. I thought that was really different than the cities I was used to in the States.

In your story, you talked about writing and how everyone wrote. Why was writing so important to them?
From what I saw when I went to Terezin, being a writer, that was really interesting, going there, because it was a place where all these creative people went. They were able to write, obviously they didn’t write the things they probably could have written if they weren’t in a concentration camp. A lot of them wrote plays, stories, poems that I think they wrote because they needed to keep everyone’s spirits high. The children at Terezin wrote poems and you can get a collection of their poems called I Never Saw Another Butterfly. I think these kids needed to write because, when you first write at least, and how most people get into writing is you write about something that bothers you, something that they don’t like about their life, and normally its not very good but something comes out of it. These people have actual problems, so I feel like they can reach the emotions that we, who have very luxurious lives, cannot reach.

What was your most memorable experience?
I went to the Franz Kafka museum. That was a place I wanted to go to. It was so cool. You can’t take pictures inside, so I can’t do it much justice because it is something you have to see because its so bizarre and well put-together. I was just really looking forward to that. Not too many people wanted to go with me, but I think they missed out.

You’ll have to let me know what that is.
The first half of the museum is just Franz Kafka the writer, his life. He wrote Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle. He was born in Prague of German descent. He wrote all these surreal, absurd novels and short stories. I was really pumped to go there. The first half of the museum was his life, which was cut short. It discussed some of his novels, which were unfinished, unfortunately, and it discussed where his novels were probably going to go. That was really interesting. Then the second half of the museum was his stories and his characters, so it was really entertaining.

What surprised you about studying abroad?
Well, studying short, you have to stay so close to this group that you’re with. You’re with this group for a long time, and my group, I didn’t know anyone before hand, because there was only one other writer in my group, but they all knew each other, so they were very interesting. They were very nice to me. Not so much to each other, but they were nice to me. There was all this stuff going on. What I found interesting was that, and this is more so human nature than the trip, that nobody put aside their anger or anything in favor of this trip. People missed out on things because they were so angry at each other, so I was surprised about that. We were doing all these really cool things, and we were going to all these cool places. We did wine tasting while we were there, which I don’t think they’re going to do again, unfortunately. Me and one other person were the only people who drank all the wine and were sober. Everyone else got really drunk after a couple sips. It was pretty funny. That surprised me, I’d say.

What was the food like?
Really good. If you’re a foodie, I’d definitely recommend going. I was completely unfamiliar with Czech food. I come from a family that is half Italian. To me European food is Italian food so I was really interested to see the type of food there. They have this tray that you can get in any restaurant, and its going to sound disgusting. We all thought it sounded disgusting and then we tried it and we liked it. It’s this meat that they have in this sauce that they make and they have a side of cream, sort of like whipped cream, and cranberries. You’d have to sort of have the mixture of food, the meat and the cream and everything. Most of us were put off by it, but we wanted to try it anyway because its one of the big Czech plates. Once we ate it we had it a couple times after that. I wish I could find it now.

Would you go back and stay longer?
Yeah, I would. I think because there are so many places that you don’t get to touch upon. Prague is very touristy, you know, there are tourists everywhere, but the other places we went to had less tourists and they were nice and quiet and cool. I don’t think we really touched about everything that we could have. I’m not much of a traveler, which is why I went short. I get uncomfortable when I travel, but I was surprised by how much I liked it there. It was very interesting. I wouldn’t go to live there or anything, but I would go to stay longer and hit the places I didn’t hit and go back to have the food again.

Interview with Essy S. Dean

What is your name, major, and class year?
My name is Essy Dean, and I’m a senior Creative Writing major and History minor.

Where did you Go, when, and why?
I went to London. I did the Regents University London Program, and I have been in love with British history since I was in sixth grade, which I talk about a little bit in the piece. Then, I went to London in the summer of 2011 with my mom, and I fell in love with the entire city. By the third day we were there I said, “I don’t care. I am doing a semester abroad when I’m in college, and I’m coming back here.”

What surprised you about your experiences on your GO trip, especially seeing the castles you have always admired?
It was amazing. It was really cool just to see how much the street map has changed, but walking around this city that these people walked around and drove through and yelled at each other in (because Henry VIII did a lot of yelling at the end of his life. He basically went insane, but that’s another story). When I was there in 2011, me and my mom were walking up one of the towers in the Tower of London, and I said, “I want this staircase.” And she said, “Wait, you want the Tower of London in your house?” And I said, “No, just the staircase.” I was just obsessed with the spiral staircase.

What was the weirdest thing that happened to you?
Me and a couple of my friends who were also theater nuts—I took a theater class while I was there—we took a day trip to Stratford upon Avon, and we got lost trying to get to London Euston, which was the nearest national rail service station to Regents. We got lost getting there on the subway, which they call the Tube. Then, we get to London Euston, we buy our tickets to get to Stratford, and we had to change trains twice to get to Stratford. The second train was a train that was going all the way to Wales, so it doesn’t even leave the station. It gets delayed and then delayed again and again, so we said, “Forget this, and left.” We went upstairs to where the check in hall was, and we said, “We’re trying to get to Stratford upon Avon, and our train is delayed. How do we do this?” And, they told us to backtrack to a station in Birmingham and from there we could get a regional train to Stratford upon Avon.

We got there about two hours later than we had planned, and we had registered with a specific tour at Shakespeare’s birthplace and all this other stuff. So, we get there and we go into the information center and explain it to them. They just put us on the next tour.

Why should other people GO there?
If you want to go to Europe, and you don’t want to deal with the language barrier but you want to go to other cities in Europe to travel, it’s a great location for that. You can literally get to France in a day. You can go on a day trip to France. That’s how close it is. Then, England and Scotland and Wales themselves are also great places to visit.

Interview with Amanda Schader

Where and when did you GO?
I went to New Zealand over winter break, so winter 2015/2016 in the North Island.

Why did you choose New Zealand?
Well, part of it was when I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go, I had this huge list of places, and after my father saw it, he crossed out like all of them, except for Greece, Germany, Austria, and New Zealand. I thought New Zealand was probably the quirkiest one out of all of those. Plus, I figured I could go to Europe any time in my life, and when would I ever be able to go to New Zealand again? Also, I’m a big fan of the Lord of the Rings, so I was like, gotta go to New Zealand, right?

What is an aspect of your trip that you don’t get to talk about often?
Probably that while we were there we were learning about not just the larger population of New Zealand, but also the Maori people, who are native to New Zealand. So we did a lot of activities and trips and such that were gonna teach us about the Maori. For example, we went to the Waitangi treaty grounds, which is the treaty between the British and the Maori. We also went to Whakawerawera, which is a living Maori village and they’ve been open for people to tour their village since the 1800s. While we were there, it was really cool to see everything, but it was all kind of uncomfortable because it was hard to tell whether they were doing it because they were really proud of their culture and wanted to share that or if it was because it was the only option they had to make money, to kind of exploit their culture. At one point during the tour, we all sat in this little arena and watched them give a show with traditional Maori dancing, but then they also did the Hokey Pokey at one point and it felt like a tourist trap. We were all very uncomfortable and wondered, “Okay, is this the only way they’re allowed to share their culture now? Or are they actually very proud of their heritage?” So, it was a cool experience, but a lot of us felt really uncomfortable, and we’re still not really sure how to feel about it.

Any interesting food experiences?
One thing that the Maori people do, especially in the village we went to, which is a geothermal hotspot area, is cook their food in two separate ways. One way is in a bag and then just dump it in a hot spring, and it cooks the food for them. They also have these little wooden boxes with hot rocks in them, and they’ll put the food in that to cook it. They call it their “Maori microwave.” That was called the hangi. For the most part, they have similar food to the U.S., but there’s certain things that are more popular. For example, we were trying to save some money, so we tried to buy some food for the hostel and we thought, “Oh, peanut butter and jelly!” But when we went to buy jelly, there was no grape jelly and strawberry jelly was basically a rarity. It was all apricot and cranberry, raspberry. At one point we went to the Shakespeare Pub in Auckland and I was really excited to get a burger, so I got what was called “The Complete Works of Shakespeare.” It had this red jelly slab on it. It was made out of beets, which I just thought was the weirdest, kind of odd thing to put on a burger.

How did your experience change your perspective?
I guess partly how my perspective changed over there is that people in New Zealand are incredibly happy. At first we thought it was just Auckland. Everyone there was super smiley, which we thought was weird for a city. Random people were just waving to us and saying hi, how are you, cheers, everywhere we went, and we were all wondering what was going on. Part of the thing we had to do there were research projects about different aspects of culture and one group actually did it on happiness. One of my friends was in that group, and she actually asked someone, “Why are people here so happy?” And his response was that they don’t have anything to not be happy about. There was no reason to not be happy. And their work ethic is completely different. Over here, it’s more that your life is work, whereas over there, it’s not at all. We were there over the holidays, and there were businesses closed for weeks, just so people could spend time with their families and celebrate their holidays. It was insane. Our professors were explaining how they get four weeks of vacation every year and kids there take a gap year between high school and college just to travel the world. Their entire outlook on life is just so different. And we all started wondering, okay, why is America so stressful? We’re so focused on success and reputation and work. Why can’t we just relax and spend our lives hanging out with our families like the people in New Zealand do?

What advice do you have for students who have yet to study abroad?
I guess there’s a couple things. One is that I would say to go somewhere you think you’ll never have the opportunity to go to again or some place that you would be scared to go to by yourself, or it wouldn’t be easy to go there by yourself. You go in with professors who have been there before and who know a lot about the country, and it’s just so much easier to do it with them than to go alone. Also, I guess just make the most of it. We had a number of free days on our trip and don’t take those days just to relax. I would suggest going out and actually doing things and seeing the country and just take the time to explore. It’s worth it.