22 Jun Making the Most of your Internship Abroad

Our summer internships are off to a great start! It’s exciting for me to hear from our interns about their new cities, homes and jobs – so many of them are getting such unique exposure in their fields, from music promotion in Galway to engineering in Reykjavik to tourism in Madrid – and so many more! Eight weeks may seem like a short period of time, but it’s definitely long enough to develop some valuable professional skills, learn new things about the world (and about yourself) and leave a great impression with your supervisor and colleagues. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your short-term internship: Take risks – You already took a huge risk by going halfway around the world for the summer! Bring that same adventurous spirit to your internship. Offer your opinion at a staff meeting, use your creativity to help solve a problem, or take on a project that intimidates you a little bit. Fully embrace that risk you’ve already taken! Be assertive – If you feel ready to tackle a new assignment, need some clarity on a task, or have an idea of how to make an existing system more efficient, speak up! Your supervisor will appreciate your interest in being a self-assured, engaged member of the team, and you may get some additional exposure and learn some new skills. Stay on your game – Remember why you made the choice to do an internship this...

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18 May Cultural Comfort Foods: Panamanian Edition

Comfort food is universal. While cuisines may vary from country to country, or even between different regions within the same country, there are always dishes that remind people of family, security, home. Sure, we can talk about greasy pizza, mac and cheese, or fudge brownies, but if you grew up in an international household or spent a significant period of time abroad, I’m sure you have some pretty eclectic comfort food cravings from time to time. Some of my favorite comfort foods are Panamanian in origin, since they remind me of family dinners growing up – arroz con coco y gandules, patacones, and carimañolas are among my favorites. Pretty standard Panamanian fare, but also incredibly delicious and comforting (especially when mom makes them)! Central and South American dishes overall are known for being simple, rustic and fresh, utilizing local ingredients - lots of fruits and veggies as well as local meat and seafood. Panamanian food in particular has a variety of influences, including traditions of native indigenous groups mixed with African, Spanish and Chinese cultures (yes, Chinese! There was a significant labor migration at the end of the 19th century to build the railroad system.) Of course, some dishes are easier to prepare than others. I’d rather not spend 2 hours peeling, cooking and mashing yucca, thankyouverymuch, but I’m more than happy to swap out water for coconut milk in my rice and double-fry some plantains.   (Carimañolas - too labor intensive for me to attempt, but...

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18 Apr A Dog’s Culture

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m obsessed with my dog. He is literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. A perfect combination of insane puppy energy with extremely lazy Labrador qualities. He averages a 70% success rate for retrieving sticks and toys when thrown (30% of the time he’s distracted or just plain refuses to participate in such inane activities). He loves running through herds of geese in the park and is probably the worst watch dog in the world. But he’s such a lovable galump that it’s totally forgivable. Charlie is always up for an adventure, including road trips Up North and anything that gets him into a body of water. But sometimes I wonder how he would adapt to relocating to a different country. Are dogs different in other areas of the world? Do they have culturally different attitudes, mannerisms, and decorum (as their human counterparts do)? Is dog language universal or are there dialects? Do they go through an assimilation process in order to “fit in” with the other dogs? How would daily life change for Charlie if we decided to move across the globe? French Social Structure  According to The Telegraph, there are four different types of dogs in France: “handbag dogs, hunting dogs, tied-up dogs, and dogs on the loose”. Charlie is clearly too large to be a "handbag" dog, and I like to think that I would never have a "tied-up" dog. I think he could potentially fall into...

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18 Mar Shetland – Add it to the list!

Have you ever read a book that completely takes you to another place? I just love books that cover regions outside of the US, especially those that spark an interest in a new region of the world that you may never have known existed. I’m currently reading “White Nights”, the second book in a quartet by Ann Cleaves, all of which take place on the Shetland Islands, a small archipelago off the northern coast of Scotland. I must admit that when I first began reading this series, I had to pull up iMaps to locate these islands, and since then, I have been absolutely fascinated by Shetland. A quick visit to the Official Site for Shetland Tourism and I was hooked – it has just skyrocketed to the top 10 list of locations I absolutely must visit within the next five years. Some quick facts about these Scottish islands:  You’ll never be more than 5km from the sea while in Shetland. The island chain is as far north as St. Petersburg, Russia or Anchorage, Alaska, but its ocean currents are warmer than those of other northern regions, making Shetland’s climate quite mild. The landscape is incredibly diverse – from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs, and everything in between. There are 22,000 human inhabitants and about 200,000 puffin inhabitants in Shetland. At least 85 islands in the archipelago are inhabited solely by sheep, seals and birds. Shetland ponies are unique to the area and have been living on the island...

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18 Feb International Sons of Liberty

Calling all history geeks! Last month, the History Channel debuted a new miniseries called “Sons of Liberty”. While meant to be taken more for its entertainment value than its precise historical accuracy (no, Sam Adams was not a brooding, roof-jumping bachelor), I’m confident that “Sons of Liberty” inspired many to learn more about our Founding Fathers. As a former collegiate history major, I love any opportunity to learn more about my favorite subject, and I started to wonder about historical individuals around the world who contributed to their nation’s revolutionary history. Of course, no rebel leader can be without critiques and controversies. And every historical story has multiple sides. But it’s still fascinating to take a look at other “Sons of Liberty” in other nations. What’s even better about these revolutionaries is that there are plenty of monuments to visit while you’re abroad! France – Napoleon Bonaparte Possibly one of the most celebrated and vilified figures of French history is Napoleon Bonaparte. Many know him for his ill-advised attempts to take over Russia, or perhaps his short stature and (rumored) consequential inferiority complex. But his military prowess and political sense allowed him to quickly rise in the ranks during the tail end of the French Revolution, catapulting him to become the head of the nation. Although his autocratic rule may have signaled a shift away from some of the democratic principles of French revolutionaries, Napoleon spearheaded some significant political and social reforms that our own...

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12 Dec Trim Your Tree

Nothing gets you more in the spirit of the season like decorating your home for the holidays. The lights, the glittery tree ornaments, the smell of fresh pine...

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