After returning to the U.S. from volunteering in the Republic of Georgia with the Peace Corps, two UI grads decided that they would like to share the culture of hospitality that they had learned from the Georgians and opened a food cart in Portland, Oregon, called Kargi GoGo, serving the Georgian fare they love.
When I first stepped off the plane in Sweden I was told two very important things. First, that I would need a warmer coat. Second, that we were going to have a Fika. Due to my Scandinavian heritage, I had learned about the Swedish, social institution of having a daily Fika (or many), but I highly underestimated how important this phenomenon would be to my daily routine.
Study Abroad blogger Kelsey Morfitt takes us through her first few days of her study abroad program in Prague: "I'm still recovering from jet lag, but Prague is beautiful. Two orientations down, one to go. So far, we've covered a lot of the city on foot and by tram, bus, and the metro (not to mention four flights of cement spiral stairs to our apartment). I was the only student without a suitcase, instead I had a travel pack on my back (35 lbs), and a backpack in the front (15 lbs) which certainly came in handy going up the stairs and over cobblestone roads."
In her final blog for Study Abroad, Haley Church reflects on three of her favorite aspects of life in Botswana and the top three things she is looking forward to doing when she gets back home!
Cultural knowledge goes beyond language ability. It is difficult to acquire, but can be valuable in your career and ultimately personally satisfying.
The Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese holiday. The exact date depends on the traditional Chinese calendar — the Lunar Calendar, Nong Li — which was set by the 24 Solar Terms. These Terms help farmers know when it is best to plant their corps. The Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.
Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break? Did you eat well, rest well, and study well? For most American students, it seemed as if all of you went back home to your families to enjoy the annual feast, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and delicious pies. But most international students, including me, prefer to travel around the United States, even some of the world, because a 12-hour flight back home is kind of expensive.
In China, we order our dormitory food rather than choosing different kinds of food from a buffet. So American dormitory food is definitely more complex than Chinese. But the type of food is limited because only American options are available. I think it is better to add more types of food to the buffet, because more international students are coming here. Now, I’ve been here for three years and love everything about Iowa. But I am still on the journey to find different types of American food to eat.
My stomach growling in anticipation, I follow my nose and compliantly slip out of the drizzle into the bright restaurant to my right. It is astonishingly small, just a few tables packed snugly into a dingy storefront. The menus consist of single sheets of paper with lists of indecipherable Chinese characters, and though I always hope for menus with pictures, a good option for the illiterate eater in China is to find something you like and stick with it. In my case, this is the famous, the magical, Gong Bao ji ding (Kung Pao chicken).
I’m not really one to be picky about the authenticity of ethnic food in America. Like all who have experienced its magic, I too was entranced by the bucatini all’amatriciana served up in the street cafes of Rome and Florence, but at the same time I can appreciate Olive Garden for what it is. I can sympathize with the difficulty of re-creating beyond French borders the delicate flakiness of a croissant or the perfect baguette (soft, light interior + crunchy crust), and am equally forgiving of Tex-Mex (my favorite and most dearly missed cuisine when I’m abroad). As a rule, as long as it’s tasty, I will accept it with an open mind and mouth. Until China.