Sure, a fall quarter abroad in Europe sounds rather chipper: conversing securely in a familiar tongue on Fleet Street, basking under the Roman sun rays, chomping on Parisian gourmet. But three brave rovers gladly ditched comfort to get lost in translation, taste hot dogs topped with chips and pineapple, and do a slew of other recreational activities you’ve never heard of.
Erin Bishop, SESP junior
Why I chose to go here: I wanted to go somewhere outside of Western culture and what one would consider “less developed.” And in no other Western language of Western cultures would the word for “ten” and “cunt” sound so similar.
First Impressions:‘The word ‘kumi’ means ‘ten’ in Swahili. One girl accidentally kept saying “kuma,” which roughly translates as ‘cunt’ in English and is apparently the worst word in the Swahili language. Something that has been a little hard to adjust to is being noticed literally everywhere you go. Tanzanians call all people who aren’t African “mzungu” which means white person, so a group of us will be walking down the street and we will hear people scream “mzungu” at us. I think that it is also the first word that children learn here. Each day, the village children will come running out of the bushes yelling “mzungu” asking for candy and pens.
Grace Graham, Weinberg senior
Location: Quito, Ecuador
Why I chose to go here:What biology major could pass up week long trips to the Cloud Forest, Amazon, and Galapagos Islands? It contains pretty much every ecosystem imaginable, has a rich South American culture, and lets you take a look at the problems facing a small, developing nation
First impressions:They have their own style of hot dogs (the Quito Dog), topped with the usual mustard, ketchup, red onion, and the not-so-usual salsa de piña (a pineapple jelly) and crumbled potato chips. It was quite an experience trying this, but all the people here in Quito loved it. Our program is based in Quito, a beautiful city in the mountains. We already visited the Cloud Forest, which had the quaintest farms and an infinite layering of lushly forested mountains. I take classes with guest lecturers who are in the field fighting big, extractive corporations and leading grassroots movements for sustainability within their own communities.
Kana Yoo, Communication junior
Location: New Zealand
Why I chose to go there: I knew nothing of New Zealand besides it being home to Lord of the Rings, Flight of the Conchords and a whole lot of sheep.
First impressions: New Zealand is well-known for it’s extreme activities. Since being here, I’ve gone zorbing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and canyon swinging. Also, because suing is not as common in New Zealand as the U.S., they don’t take as many safety precautions. When I went skydiving in the states, I had to go through a whole set of instructions; in New Zealand we got on the plane right away and just jumped. Zorbing, or “the Zorb”, is when a person enclosed in a water-filled ball rolls down a hill. It’s like being inside a giant washing machine. I guess if I had to sum up my NZ experience in one sentence I would say, “I am in love!”
Correction:An earlier version of the article incorrectly identified the country Erin Bishop is studying abroad in as Ghana. North by Northwestern regrets the error.