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Volunteering at Migrant School

Rachel Palfini
May 22
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

There are a lot of migrant workers in China, over 130 million. Most migrant workers are leaving poor, rural villages and moving to cities on China's eastern coast in search of better job opportunities. Most of these jobs are in factories, low-paying according to American standards, but much higher wages...

Das Ende

Das Ende

Aleida Fernandez
May 17
Filed under Off-Campus Blogs, Sprechen Sie Englisch?

It's really over. I leave Vienna tomorrow. I arrived in Vienna with high expectations. I had heard so many great things about the city, study abroad, etc. that I figured I would be in Austrian heaven from day one. As I noted in my first blog post, this wasn't really the case. Yet somewhere along the ...

The Most Popular Game in China

Rachel Palfini
May 15
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

I'm about to let you all in on a little secret. It's…how to play the most popular game in China! Now, there really is no name to this game, although I presume nicknames have popped up all over China. It is really easy to play, but you rarely win, and you don't even need to have someone explain...

Marriage Corner at People’s Park

Marriage Corner at People’s Park

Rachel Palfini
May 7
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

As many of you probably know, Chinese culture, like so many others, places great emphasis on marriage. China has been a patriarchal society since its origin over 5000 years ago, and as such, much value is placed on producing sons. With recent medical advances in the past few decades, the sex ratio in...

Crack Open a Cold One

Erik
May 5
Filed under Deixa Te Falar Uma Coisa, Off-Campus Blogs

How do you like your beer?  Here's how people in Teresina prefer it: Like a wedding dress  (Como vestido de noiva) Like a concrete worker's leg  (Como canela de pedrero) Like a seal's rear-end  (Como cú de foca) Teresinenses expect their beer to be cold.  So cold, in fact, that i...

Childhood Friend of the President

Erik
April 29
Filed under Deixa Te Falar Uma Coisa, Off-Campus Blogs

Hearing first-hand stories about how famous adults acted as children and teenagers is always fun. I recently got such an account about a former Brazilian president. Let me explain. On the way from João Pesso to Olinda, Mike and I hopped an alternativo, or unregistered cab. The owner of our host...

Discovering How to Travel Alone

Discovering How to Travel Alone

Aleida Fernandez
April 29
Filed under BLOGS, Off-Campus Blogs, Sprechen Sie Englisch?

When you travel alone there is a definite fear that you'll be lonely. With just your thoughts as company in a strange, new city it's hard to imagine having a good time without someone to share it with. Isn't that what travel is all about? Experiencing and sharing in new cultures with other people? Whe...

North by Northeast

Erik
April 28
Filed under Deixa Te Falar Uma Coisa

A few weeks ago, I set out to travel to four cities in the Northeast of Brazil. João Pessoa and Olinda were the third and fourth stops. João Pessoa was a bit quiet after Recife, but we were there on a Monday and a Tuesday - as far as I know, not the most exciting days of the week anywhere. D...

Thick Skin

Thick Skin

Rachel Palfini
April 26
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

Mandarin is the first oral language I have studied. In high school, I took four years of Latin, but we rarely read aloud, as Latin is a dead language and impossibly difficult to converse in (Latin grammar is very complicated). One of the reasons I enjoyed studying Mandarin so much my first year at Whitman...

Ancient Tea and Horse Road

Ancient Tea and Horse Road

Rachel Palfini
April 20
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

This past week was the CIEE Weeklong Excursion and I went to Yunnan Province with 30 other students and 3 teachers. We were traveling along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road (茶马古道) and stopped at different towns that used to be along the route. The Ancient Tea and Horse Road is sort...

Qingming Festival

Qingming Festival

Rachel Palfini
April 16
Filed under Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans, Off-Campus Blogs, Web Only

Last week I had midterms, which is why I have not posted in awhile. A lot has happened in the past few weeks though (besides midterms), so I'll fill you in on one of the more exciting activities. April 4-6 was the Qingming Festival (清明节) in China. In English, it is often referred...

The Spirit of Carnaval in Recife

Erik
April 12
Filed under Deixa Te Falar Uma Coisa

Two weeks ago, I set out to travel to four cities in the Northeast of Brazil.  Recife was the second stop. Recife is famous for its Carnaval celebrations, which are the most culturally rich in Brazil.  Although we weren't there during the Carnaval season, I still felt the open, festive spirit that I...

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