A “Deeply Unsettling” Semester

Urubamba Valley at 5am

The title of this post comes from a quote from one of our professors. We were sitting around on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in Argentina and discussing reverse culture shock, what it would be like to go back to the US and explain our time abroad to friends and family who would expect … Continue reading

Buenos Aires: Community and Leisure in Porteno Life

View of the city, from the rooftop of Hotel Bauen

When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I was walking around downtown past shiny retail stores and crossing the street with crosswalks. It reminded me of Manhattan. I wondered, with all the familiarity of skyscraper-tall malls symbolizing a consumption culture and without the chaos of street markets and informal forms of transportation, would Argentina would … Continue reading

Da Kar Rapide: Informal Transport and “Being On Time”


The informality of the transportation systems in Dakar and Delhi are examples of the effect that informality and informal structures have on perceptions of societal norms. During a site visit to Patte d’Oie, a station for informal taxis in Dakar, we learned through interviews with the clandestine taxi drivers (with the help of a translator) … Continue reading

Dakar and Keur Samba Kala: Privilege, Tourism, and Nok Bokk

So many beaches in Dakar

The first thing I noticed about Dakar was the air. I could smell the sea in the air, and as cheesy as this may sound, it smelled like possibility. I moved into my homestay the second day in Senegal. My host mom is 60, and her surname is Kebe, so my Senegalese name is Mariame Kebe. … Continue reading

Delhi and Ahmedabad: Displacement, Development, Social Silos, and Feminism

Art project at One Billion Rising protest in Delhi

The city of Delhi is different for everyone, it all depends on how you view it and who you are. One night a classmate and I sat together, and talked about how we were worried we had blinded ourselves to structural inequity, extreme poverty, oppression of minorities, problems we knew existed but didn’t want to see. We worried … Continue reading

Flashmobs and Failing Fast

tracks 1

This past year has been: amazing. upsetting. hilarious. disillusioning. exhilarating. It has been full of a lot of travel and new experiences, many important conversations and much questioning. A year in review, in a slightly different format: LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM: Game Theory: Words cannot describe how much I loved this class. Our professor was … Continue reading

Rethinking Cultural Colonialism


Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me, “What would you do if you were in a class and you felt as if the environment of the classroom was uncomfortably male-dominated?” I asked what she meant, and she went on, “For example, when we present our research proposals, I feel as if the only students shooting … Continue reading

Bad Aid, Privilege and Doing Good to Feel Good


I used to like Teach for America. It sounded so promising, so good. And if you think about it, so do a lot of other programs that send privileged kids off to be great “helpers”. In fact, many of these forms of bad aid are rooted in paternalism, often because the people who lead them … Continue reading

Before We Teach, We Have to Learn


There’s a saying that you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Which got me thinking about the social organization of undergraduate students in dormitory communities. Who you live with, who you choose to be friends with, will affect you a LOT. So when I’m looking at study abroad programs, … Continue reading

Danny Chen and the Deindividuation and Disinhibition of the Army


An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 19 years old. Chinese-American, born to Chinese immigrant parents. Rebellious, wanted something different than everyone else at school, loved adventure. If you have not yet read about Danny Chen, do (Life and Death of Private Danny Chen & Why Black America … Continue reading