A Letter to Remember

Dear Ghana,

I cannot thank you enough for making this one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. You’ve welcomed me with open arms and an open heart. You’ve allowed me to explore who I am and what I want in life.

You’ve taught me that I’m stronger than I think (physically, mentally and emotionally) by putting me to the test hiking Mt. Afajato, challenging me with unexpected blackouts or rainstorms and even bargaining in the markets or with taxi drivers.

You’ve taught me to live in the moment and appreciate every given day, which should be lived to its fullest.

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Agur, Adios, Goodbye

[Agur: The equivalent of goodbye in Euskara]

Growing up isn’t easy. There’s never a right time to do it, it just kind of happens, whether you want it to or not. These past three months studying abroad have taught me so much. I’ve felt the growth within me and there were even times where I felt growing pains in my heart — if that’s even a real thing.

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A Quick Jaunt to the Tombs

When studying abroad, it is nice that there is time given to explore other locations and sites. While participating in the study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel, students are encouraged to do a little bit of exploring, and given time to do so. Classes are held Monday through Thursday so my weekends last from Thursday evening until Sunday evening. Recently I decided to take this opportunity to, as many friends here suggested, go on a quick jaunt to the island of Cyprus.

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My Italian Thanksgiving

One drawback of studying abroad is not being able to be with family during the holiday season, which makes it a little more difficult not to miss home this time of year. Unfortunately I was not able to go home and celebrate with any of my family this year. It honestly made me sad to think that my family was all together (one of the two holidays where this is the case) and I missed out on the occasion.

But, luckily, something happened the weekend before that made up for it every single bit.

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Remembering The Sabbath (Shabbat) With University of Haifa International School

A recent experience was shared with the students of the University of Haifa International School: We were all welcomed with open arms to participate in the observance of Sabbath. The day is recognized as a Jewish holiday and is set aside for rest and worship.

The tradition comes from the Bible (Exodus 20:8) where God commands “the Sabbath day is considered the day of rest on the seventh day, and is to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested on the seventh day from His works of Creation.”

According to the Jewish religious laws, Sabbath begins slightly before sunset on Friday and ends upon the appearance of three stars as they begin to shine on Saturday evening. Sabbath is ushered in by the lighting of candles, resting from labor and issuing prayers and blessings to the Creator. The day is called Shabbat and comes from the word Sabbath, which comes from the Hebrew word meaning “rest.”

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Feelin’ 22

Ever wonder what it’s like to spend your birthday in another country on a different continent?

This past weekend I celebrated my 22nd birthday in Barcelona, Spain and it was absolutely amazing. There’s something about traveling to different places that makes you a little bit more whole. This weekend I’ve realized many things but, most importantly, I think I grew up a little more.

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Berlin: A Capital and More

Last weekend, the California State University students who are in Germany took a trip from our cozy region of Baden-Württemberg to the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin. Berlin is quite different from the wooded southwest that I am studying in. The city motto “Poor, but sexy” is well deserved. The city is still rebuilding after the unification of Germany, thus old and new are juxtaposed.

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A Gilman Scholar in Phuket, Thailand!

Apologies for my late continuation of my last blog! Midterms were happening here at Nanyang Technological University and I had to work on them.

First and foremost I want to thank the Gilman Scholarship for helping me fund my Study Abroad adventure. They have also invited me to events here in Singapore. One of them was in the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore. I was invited to a dinner and was able to chat with other Gilman scholars and government workers.

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