Looking Back

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2013 by globalites2012

A lot of Global is looking forward to things, anxiously awaiting the next adventure, a brand new place, the end of a ridiculously long bus ride. But now that we’re reaching the end of our journey, we’ve been looking back more and more frequently at everything we’ve encountered on this whirlwind of a study abroad trip. We thought we’d share with everyone back home some of the things that shaped our trip, that made us laugh out loud, that we learned about ourselves, and that we’ll never forget. –Katie H.

My favorite memory from Egypt is:

“When we got to play with some kids and meet some Egyptian families. That park was the only green spot in all of sandy Cairo!” –Jordan

“Going salsa dancing with some of the Egyptian students from the AUC.” –Sarah

“The sunrise balloon ride in Luxor.” –Madeline

The weirdest place I’ve slept was:

“On the ground at a Hindu-Christian center. First rule of Global: sleep whenever, wherever you can.” –Kierstin

“That one hotel in China that was in the middle of no where. It totally felt like Stephen King’s ‘The Shining.’” -Loulia

“Outside of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.” –Connor

“In the official briefing on DMZ protocol.” –Jen

“The breakfast table at the Flying Pan at LKF.” –Kelsey O

My favorite memory from Turkey is:

“Sitting on a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque for Devi’s birthday. Everything was going wrong with our orders and food, and people were starting to get frustrated, when all of a sudden fireworks started going off over the Hagia Sofia and music started playing. It was a beautiful sight and the timing was hilarious.” –Katie H.

My favorite memory from India is:

“The Diwali celebration. It was the first and only time we as Globalites played against each other in tug-o-war and volleyball.” –Nancy

“Visiting our friend Shivappa’s village and meeting his family and all of the village kids who crowded at the door and followed us EVERYWHERE. They were so sweet and welcoming!” –Michelle

The worst thing I’ve eaten was:

“Turkish delight.” –Ian

“McDonalds from China.” –Thao

“This fermented tofu soup that we had during our excursion in South Korea. It tasted and smelled like feet!” –Kia

“Street octopus.” –Everyone who ate street octopus

The best thing I’ve eaten is:

“Waffle balls from the street stands in Hong Kong and China. I also really liked the tiny minnows that tasted like candy in South Korea.” –Michelle

“A tie between Peking Duck and koshary.” –Ian

“Half price mango sushi at Sushi One.” –Cianna

“Live squid.” –Susie

“FERLERFER!” –Doug (Translation: Falafel. We get excited about it.)

My most spontaneous adventure was:

“Either going parasailing in Mumbai, or driving a motorbike in Chiang Mai.” –Sarah

“Probably going out for a random bike ride when we first got to India and we did not realize the conditions of the road. We ended up biking over streets that were better suited for mountain bikes among the cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses that don’t believe in road regulations. We got lost and this man asked his son to show us how to get back. It was probably the best way to get acquainted with Indian roads.” –Elise

“Hopping the fence out of the ECC on the first night.” –Jen

“Visiting Tahrir Square, by far. For months before Global and during the volatile time in Egypt, I reassured my family and myself that I would not be going to the center of Egyptian discontent. Somehow, though, I was drawn into a trip there, and I am so glad I went, if only for the new perspective it offered on the political situation I had previously known only from a TV screen in the safety of my home.” –Kierstin

The most interesting thing I’ve learned from one of our classes is:

“That Cairo’s rent control laws are such that some families are paying the same rent as they were in the 1950s.” –Madeline

“Zoroastrianism.” –Sarah

“Tribal religions in India.” –Devi

“Egypt’s political and social issues leading up to Mubarak’s stepping down and Morsi’s rise.” –Ian

The best mistranslation I’ve see was:

“Beware of Slippery.” –Connor

“That chocolate bar that was supposed to say ‘crunchy’, but instead said ‘crunky’.” –Sarah

“This door has a bad.” –Kierstin

“Street Performers: Give us hands please!” –Katie P.

“Have you still do not eat?” –Kia

“Wood to flesh. Fire saftey room. Food area for lying fallow. My father in the room. Help protect the railings. No striding. Water is cool, out of service. Speaking cellphone is strictly prohibited when thunderstorm… etc.” –Jordan (the recorder of bad translations)

My favorite Paul and Julie moment is:

“Their Halloween costumes!” –Lauren

“Learning about Paul’s phase with platform shoes, long hair, and bell-bottoms.” –Corinne

“When Julie started dancing to Gangnam Style.” –Rachel

I was most outside of my comfort zone when:

“I got on the plane to leave for Geneva. I honestly think I had a panic attack on that flight. I was so nervous and I already missed chipotle </3” –Lauren

“Accepting the gender relations in Egypt: the lack of independence and constant cat-calling was frustrating.” –Kierstin

“The cab driver in Egypt took us through back roads on our way to Khan Al Khalili and couldn’t understand me freaking out in English.” –Rachel

“Jordan would jokingly yet creepily hug me.” –Ian

My favorite tour guide was:

“Bruce because he’s such a boss at his job.” –Nancy

“Muhammad in Luxor because “but…NO…meow”. –Kelsey O.

“Lee! She was so sweet and friendly. I loved talking with her and thought it was so adorable when she started crying at the end of our tours together.” –Lauren

The grossest bathroom I’ve used was:

“At a rest stop and gas station in Thailand somewhere between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.” –Madeline

“THE ONE AT THE MOUNT TAI. Oh dear god it was like something out of the movie Saw.” –Lauren

The funniest thing that happened to me was:

“Seeing Su Wu being smacked around like a ping pong in the elevator. Or watching Su Wu carry her luggage up an escalator.” –Kelsey O.

“Playing Elevator Ping Pong… I lost.” –Susie

“Falling while standing in my skis.” –Loulia

“While miserable at the time, the experience of having everything go wrong at the Beijing train station–cobblestone sidewalk vs. broken suitcases and falling bags–is funny to recall.” –Kierstin

“Was being taught how to squat and the WHOLE group listening to me freak out while squatting.” –Rachel

My biggest regret is:

“Eating scorpion in Beijing.” –Cianna

“Not wearing bug spray in an area where there was a Dengue Fever outbreak…” –Katie H.

“Not journaling every day like I had planned. I guess it means I’ll have to go back and keep traveling and journaling!!” –Lauren

Something I hated and then loved was:

“My natural hair.” –Loulia

“The hassle of getting internet at the ECC.” –Connor

“Many foods, bargaining, and being spontaneous.” –Kierstin

My best packing decision was:

“Thank God for my Tevas.” –Jordan

“Chacos.” –Connor

“My sleep sack (especially in India, just sayin’)” –Sarah

“My Snuggie.” -Devi

While abroad, I’ve loved meeting:

“The Korean students, the Rizvi Law students, the members of Shivappa’s village in India, and I’ve also loved getting to know the Global students so well! They have been my family away from home :)” –Michelle

“The staff and families at the ECC. They were so fun, caring, and helpful. They would help us with anything we wanted, from getting our noses pierced to teaching us how to make chapati. I have never met a group of people that were so incredibly loving and generous.” –Corinne

“All of the students and everyone around my age – the students at the AUC, the law students and ECC families in India, and the Yonsei students – they were so easy to connect with and warm and welcoming.” –Katie H.

My biggest “it’s fine” moment was:

“Drinking water anywhere in public.” –Kelsey O.

“Ice hiking in tennis shoes.” –Jen

“Our late-night taxi ride in Istanbul, complete with a squeaky clown head on the rearview mirror.” –Katie P.

“When a taxi driver in Cairo let us pile in like 7 people. Driving through rush hour in Cairo is crazy enough but with someone on everyone’s lap with cars of people laughing at us and police not caring, it definitely became a little bit more exciting.” –Corinne

“In India when I fell into a huge hole filled with dirt and diseases and garbage- slumdog millionaire style. And then a bike fell on top of me.” –Lauren

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is:

“To try and not take your time for granted, for it is very limited! I am still working on this one!” –Elise

“Is appreciate everything you’ve got. We have so much that we take for granted each day and as we saw in the streets of India they don’t have much but they were still satisfied.” –Devi

“Things don’t always go according to plan.” –Sarah

“Conversations mean more than most things in life.” –Katie P.

“Street food is not nearly as dangerous as doctors make it sound.” –Cianna

“Be patient, it’ll be worth it in the long run.” –Susie

“I can always find something in common with another person, no matter how different I think we are.” –Corinne

It’s Been Awhile.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2013 by globalites2012

As we all boarded the bus and headed off to Bangalore airport, our heavy hearts carried mixed emotions. Yes we were excited for the next chapter in our journey, but were we ready to leave? Did we prepare ourselves to leave the second home that ECC created for us? Have we prepared our diet to say goodbye to the afternoon and evening tea time? Have we spent enough time with the children? Did we leave our mark? Will the staff and children remember us?

The Ecumenical Christian Center became our second home. The hospitality, sense of community and friendship that we created with the staff and children brought us happiness and love. Now as we depart, that happiness and love caused us a bit of sadness and a sense of loss. Perhaps, as some may think, it’s best not to build such bonds with others if we already know the sad ending, spoilers. Of course there are no regrets, no regrets to creating memories and experiencing new friendships, but like they say, there is no happiness without sadness, no white without black and no day without night.

On our last day in Bangalore, many of us spent it taking pictures of the campus ground, capturing our favorite quotes, absorbing the beauty and peaceful nature that surrounded us for the past thirty something days and enjoyed a cup of tea outside the Dialogue House.
“India is a country full of extremes,” a quote we heard a lot from speakers and guests and I agree completely. The prefect example is Dharavi, the biggest slum in Asia located in Mumbai, India that’s not too far from a multimillionaire 40 something floors home, and he doesn’t even live there.  Another saying, “You love and hate India,” which goes with the extremes/contrast we see in India. I love the people in India. Again, the hospitality and kindness these strangers offer is more than I could ever ask for. In trying to understand why they are so kind, they simple say, “You are in my country therefor I need to help you.” One day I hope I will be able to provide the same kindness to them.

So what did we “academically” spend our time on? Don’t worry loving and caring parents for we had our fair share of education in India. We learned about the many religions in India: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity and Hinduism. I’m pretty sure we had over 20 different lecturers on each subject and we even got to see temples and climbed 500 steps up a mountain to a Jain temple. Many of us were caught by surprise from the giant statue greeting us at the entrance to the temple. It wasn’t the gargantuan size of the statue or the beauty of it. I think it’s best to ask for yourself when we get back ^^.

From New Delhi to the airport Julie asked us if we would like to share something we wanted to say goodbye to.  I said goodbye to the head bobble and many were happy to say goodbye to cold showers, mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders and all sorts of creepy crawling bugs just waiting to surprise us in our rooms.

Growing up with Bollywood films, learning Indian dances with my sisters and cousins, watching them perform these dances at the Hmong New Year, I feel so happy that I was in India. I probably spent the most money in there as well. All us gals got sarees, many got one, some got more than one and I bought eleven sarees. I have six sisters and we all grew up with Bollywood. I had to get them sarees!

Now as I’m writing this in China, I feel like India was such a long time ago. This global trip is flying by faster than I can imagine and I’m not sure I’m prepared to head back to Minnesota. I can imagine myself lying in my bed at home thinking that these five months was just a dream. I didn’t travel to Switzerland, Turkey, Egypt, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, it was all a dream.

I only hope that my memory will allow me to remember the beauty of Mount Seleve, the smell of roasted chestnuts in Turkey, the excitement I felt when I saw the Great Pyramid of Giza, the heat and sweat from the standing under the hot sun at Karnack Temple, the kindness and love from the people of India, the taste of every pad thai meal I had in Thailand, the freedom and luxurious life at the Hyatt in Hong Kong and the tears I cried on Christmas in China with my Global family.

The world didn’t end on December 21st, but Global will on January 26th. I love my Global family. From the bottom of my heart I’m so happy I got share this amazing adventure with each and every single one of you. I’m so happy that my first airplane ride, first camel ride, first hot air balloon ride, first ballet, first time swimming in a body of salt water and I’m sure there’s more, was with all of you. Thank you, all of you.

With love,

Lou Lia Wang

Please enjoy a few of the photos attached from India and Hong Kong

44 Class Room in India Nancy and the children Ian's Birthday New Dheli Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Ocean Park Hyatt Lobby in Hong Kong The View Halloween Doug and Prem Fabulous Corinne and Friends

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2012 by globalites2012

It’s been a whirlwind of a time in China, but on this special day, we wanted to send some holiday greetings to our friends and family back home. We miss you all, and we can’t wait for when we’ll be reunited soon!

Christmas was a special day for us, even though we had a schedule that was different than any Christmas we’ve celebrated before. We started out the morning by recording our favorite Global memories, which we watched later in the day. Once we finished this video, we decided to sing a few Christmas carols, which we recorded and will send on soon! After the caroling, we were given the letters from our parents describing Christmas traditions at home. We were thinking of you all when we were reading these off, and we hope that you have a blessed Christmas this year. After this sentimental moment, Paul and Julie gave us a beautiful Christmas present–silver necklaces with “Global 2012″ and a picture of the globe on them. To continue in the spirit of gift-giving, we then gave our “Secret Santa” gifts, which we had been planning since Hong Kong. Overall, it was a great day filled with both missing our families but enjoying the day with our Global family!


Here are a few photos of the day- smiles, friends, and of course, cookies!

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We miss you all, and we can’t wait to see you when we return!

Hong Kong Suites!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2012 by globalites2012

I’m sure you’re all excited to see the life we’re living! Here are a couple photos of the hotel we’re staying at! Can you believe it? We’re staying in executive suites for a month! This is definitely a dream come true! Wish you were all here to experience with us!

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Thank you, India!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2012 by globalites2012

It’s been a while since we’ve updated our friends and family, especially about our awesome experience at the Ecumenical Christian Center (ECC) in Bangalore, India. Our group would like to apologize for this late update. We hope that our audience will understand the situation we were in–Our accessibility to internet was VERY LIMITED. We literally had little to no internet during our month stay in India. It was hard living without internet, but then it allowed us for more time to truly enjoy the experience.

Before arriving to the ECC, we stayed at the YMCA hostel in Mumbai for a couple days. We visited the Rizvi Law College and enjoyed a spectacular fun night-out with college students. Our tour guide also took us to see the Elephanta Caves, which had many carved depictions of gods and goddesses such as Lord Shiva and his wife. We also visited and sung songs at the Sister’s of Charity Orphanage, we we got to witness the lives of people and how they were taken into care. It was definitely a memorable experience.

If you were to ask us one thing we like the most about India? Majority of us would say… the warm hospitality they provided. Compared to all the countries we’ve been to, I can firmly say that a lot of us felt very happy in India. The people here, at least the people we encountered and interacted with, are so warm, welcoming, kind, and generous. Despite all the annoying mosquitoes and cold showers we’re forced to take, the pros definitely beat the cons many times over. The people (especially the kids), the food, and the hospitality = one word–UNBEATABLE.

Besides all the lectures we had about religions of India, we had many visits and excursions out to see other parts of India, such as temples, churches, safaris, the royal palace, etc. We also celebrated Diwali where we got to dress up in pretty sarees, which is a festival celebrated annually by the Indian people known as the “festival of lights”–the victory of good over evil. Here, we got the chance to eat many good sweets, light up fireworks, and play many group games such as tug-of-war and volleyball.

There was many things besides all that I’ve already mentioned above that we did at the ECC that was super fun and long to describe. Even if we were to describe it all in words, I personally think that it wouldn’t do the experience and the feelings we had much justice. One must be here in order to truly see and understand what a great and fantastic place the ECC (and India itself) really was.

Leaving the ECC was really hard, especially after many of us became attached to the place and people. But we must do what we must do, right?? We left for our last stop in Delhi, India. We stayed at another YMCA hostel and visited the famous Taj Mahal. The story behind all the construction was just–WOW! Stunning and absolutely beautiful! Pictures don’t do this experience and place any justice either. The fine complexities that went into the design and construction of the Taj was unbelievably well-done. There were many other sites that we visited following the Taj Mahal, such as the Gandhi Memorial, Indian Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Friday Mosque.

Although it is sad to leave India, I think many of us deserve a break. We will be heading to Thailand next for a ONE WEEK VACATION!!!! This will be the first time on Global where we will be splitting off into mini groups enjoying ourselves (whether that is with our parents or other Globalites)! Excited much? I think YES!!

*Photos will be posted soon!

First time experience, life changing indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 by globalites2012

Hi family and friends,

I’m sure many of you, including my friends here on Global, don’t know this about me. Not even my family members know this. Though I’ve seen this place multiple times in my life, I have never stepped a foot inside of it. You know what that place is? It’s a cemetery. I know I know, I’ve been living my life for 20 years, but yet I’ve never been inside of one. What’s the reason? Perhaps there is no reason. Maybe because I’ve never lost someone so dear or close to me.

During our excursion in Alexandria, something hit me deeply. We visited a cemetery where the soldiers who fought and died during the second World War were buried. Walking amongst these gravestones and silently reading the names and dates of those who perished, I placed myself in the perspective of a mother or wife who had lost her son or husband in the war. “How tragic.” I thought to myself. I honestly do not know the words to describe how I felt at that time, but I can say that I was emotionally moved and torned by the thought of it. I was sad. Hopeless, too. Yet, I’m proud. Proud of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and fought for their countries. They are indeed heroes.

This leads me back to something I’ve had in mind since the moment I crossed borders that were foreign to me. With a month already into Global Semester, this experience have deepened my perception of the world around me. The culture here in Egypt (as well as in Turkey) is really different from that of America. Is that a bad thing? No, not technically. Because for one, I’m happy to be here and take note of these cultural differences. And two, because of these differences, I finally came to appreciate the country and culture that I originated from. That is my home, the United States of America. I guess the quote of “you never truly come to appreciate your own culture until you’ve witness another” is quite true. With all that said and done, a song came into mind and I want to share it with you all back at home. If you haven’t already, I hope you too will come to appreciate this land of freedom and sing along with Beyonce:

“…I’m proud to be an American
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up
next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA…”

I am proud to be an American. With love and sincerity,
Kia Chiyoko Vang (Click my name to visit my blog on our adventures!)

Reflection – Alexandria, Egypt

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 1, 2012 by globalites2012

After an hour or two of lecture on Alexander the Great, we went on a two-day excursion to Alexandria. Compared to my experience in Luxor and Hurghada, I didn’t get hassled much here as a tourist. In other words, I wasn’t pressured by shopkeepers to go into their store and buy their stuff. Furthermore, this place reminds me of home. Despite the sand and dust covered buildings, Alexandria is pretty westernized. The food, the stores, the way people dressed, etc. In a sense, the culture here is different from that of Cairo. The vibe I receive from here is different: the rich Egyptian tradition kind of feeling is somewhat hidden. In fact, this was my first time being in an actual mall since I left home for Global Semester. (The mall consisted of five floors with a food court, movie theatre, shops, grocery store, etc).

Though the hassling wasn’t much of a problem for us here, other Globalites did experience something unexpected- the level of hostility towards those who are perceived as “Americans”. There were hissing and toy guns (that were hand gestured) pointed at some of us while exploring the coastlines of the beach located across our hotel in Alexandria. In a sense, some of us didn’t feel welcomed or “liked” here.

Despite all the negativity that went on, I’m sure we as a group learned a lot from our tour guide as she presented us information on the historical sites we visited. One of the places we visited was a catacomb, an underground cemetery, called “Kom El-Shuqafa”. This catacomb consisted of three floors, a tunnel (a passageway to bring down dead bodies for burial), and many rooms with holes dugged out from the walls in rows of 3 by 4. A total of 12 coffin-sized holes in almost every room.

One thing that struck me the most on this visit was the fact that the floor we were standing on was a place where a tragedy I thought would never happen took place. As I was listening to our tour guide preaching the history of this catacomb, I couldn’t believe my ears! If I remember and heard correctly, the Roman Emperor at the time heard news about some Egyptians who held grudges against him. And because of this, the emperor decided to wipe out the people who contained such feelings. His strategy? He set up an ambush by inviting them to a meal. The killing then took place after the feast. Luckily, some Egyptians escaped and went into hiding. But where did they go? They ran and hid here in this underground cemetery. Unfortunately, the emperor found this area and lives were taken. How? The emperor had them buried alive. Yes. I said it. Tragic and devastating, isn’t? This same area, this same ground where I was standing on was the same exact place where many unfortunate lives were buried alive. For me, it was definitely something hard to believe, but … it really did happen.

Can you imagine yourself being buried alive? I’ve never felt so alert hearing such story. And as much as I love watching horror films and listening to ghost stories, nothing has ever spooked me and saddened me at the same time as this.

Kia Chiyoko Vang (Click my name to visit my blog on our adventures!)

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