‘Sorry, I Can’t Speak Chinese Very Well’

When I first started looking at programs for my semester abroad, I never thought that I would end up in Asia. In fact, I had my heart set on either Spain or Australia for a while. However, when I stumbled across a program at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, I just had to look into it.

At the time, Taiwan was quite mysterious to me. I had had layovers in the country, but had never stepped out of the airport. My extent of what I knew about the little island was that there was constant argument over whether Taiwan was a part of China or not, and that the main language spoken there was Mandarin Chinese. I’m not quite sure what it was about the program that won me over, but a little voice inside my head told me that this was the perfect place for me.

So, taking a huge leap of faith, I applied for the university, and started packing my things.

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Cyprus, Here I Come … Again!

Previously, I wrote about a trip that several friends and myself took to Paphos, Cyprus last semester. You can read that post here.

However, how many of you have ever ended your semester feeling completely drained and realized you needed a time of rest, peace and relaxation? How many have ever wanted to just set that heavy backpack down and fall flat on your back and not move your body for at least a week?

Well, I was feeling that way. That’s why I took the opportunity to do a return trip to the Island of Cyprus!

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Learning A New Language Is Like Climbing the Highest Mountain

After a young friend and I finally went through the hassle of our home state’s airport check-in process a few months back, we began to discuss what crosses we would bear once  we began classes at the University of Haifa International School in Israel.

Now mind you, she and I had to already overcome several obstacles during the process of planning our study abroad adventures. Here, I will digress a little and offer an example of a challenge I had to face in order to achieve the goal I’d set for myself.

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Christmas In Nazareth

Known as “the Arab capital of Israel,” Nazareth is the largest city located within the country’s Northern District. However, Nazareth is also one of the most historic places for those who focus in biblical history. It is that biblical history that I, along with a couple of friends from the University of Haifa International School, went to explore during the Christmas holiday season.

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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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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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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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