Thursday, April 26, 2007

Second-Tier Cities in Europe

I saw this interesting article in the NY Times today. The basic idea is that forgoing touristy sites (and subsequently touristy cities) will save you lots of money, and even some sanity. Second-tier cities offer laid-back atmospheres and chances to sit in cafes with the locals. Looking back on my experience in Dubrovnik, Croatia, I can say that is accurate. Dubrovnik is somewhat of a tourist destination, but the beaches aren't overcrowded, and a delicious pizza is still under $8.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Summer

Well, the State Department doesn't want me-- I was turned down by the Turkish scholarship people. I certainly was hoping to be selected, but I think I did a good job of preparing myself for this possibility. In my rejection email (disturbingly similar to those college rejection letters), I found out just how competitive the scholarship was: I had a 6% chance of being chosen. When I found this out, I got un-upset real quick. I had no idea it was so competitive! 550 people applied for the 35 Turkish spots alone.

There are a lot of upsides to these plans being dashed. Of course I'm not happy. But I was wondering a few days ago if it was really the best idea to not be working the summer before going abroad. Now, I will go back to having 2 jobs to make as much money as possible, and I know the motivation of being able to spend a few extra days in the south of Croatia will be enough to keep a smile on my face. I'll be going to Chicago and NYC, looking forward to seeing both. And then, come September, I'm off to Berlin.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Now It's Istanbul

I've also applied to go to Istanbul this summer. I would be taking part in a 2-month intensive study of the language at Boğazıçı University (or "Boz," as my friend Ece affectionately referred to it) that would be paid for by the US State Department. I'd love to go to Istanbul for 2 months on the State Department's bill, so cross your fingers! I should find out in about 3 weeks, give or take.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meteorological Blues

The weather in the T-dot has been horrible lately, and it's truly getting everyone down. It snowed intermittently today, and is probably hovering around 30 degrees right now. I asked two friends if this is at all normal, and I received two emphatic "no"s. I will be fed up with this cold spell after about 2 days of it, but it seems that it isn't going to let up any time soon. There's a big party held in the quad next Friday to celebrate the end of classes, and I'm worried everyone's going to move indoors if the weather doesn't shape up.
Climate Change 1, Us 0.

"this beat gon' kill everyone"

Everyone needs to see this video by M.I.A. of her song "Bird Flu." She named the song as such due to the reason given in the title of this post. If it wasn't almost 1 am, I'd write about what M.I.A. means in the context of our society. Maybe later.

Inaugural Address

In light of being accepted for an exchange program at Humboldt University in Berlin next year, I've decided to start this so that those who are near and dear can keep tabs on what I'm up to. Or, it'll possibly be easier than mass emails that attempt to contain lots of pictures as I travel Europe.

A few words on my title: I feel that I don't really like staying in any place too long, and U of T has proved to be far from an exception. I'm thrilled that I'm getting a break from Toronto next year. I've certainly gotten a lot out of going to school in Canada, something that I will never deny, but I will be glad to graduate. Then again, I would be glad to graduate from anywhere. As the years have gone on, I've realized that typical schooling doesn't really agree with me. I'm quick to lose motivation if I don't like the task at hand, and at a rigorous school like my high school or U of T, that carries a lot of consequences. So when I get down on the idea of post-secondary schooling, I remind myself of my one goal: to join the Peace Corps. I hope to get sent to Central Asia (the 'stans), where I will start my NGO career. My interest in Central Asia started with an assignment to be the delegation from Uzbekistan for Model UN one year. Thus, when I'm tired of studying economics, I really start longing for the cotton field of Uzbekistan.