Sultans, Palaces and Turkish Apple Tea

These last few weeks have gone by so fast! At the very end of February, I went on the optional trip with CYA to Istanbul, Turkey. We got up at the crack of dawn (to be at the academic center at 4 am!) and got into Istanbul in the morning only to hit the ground …

Life in Rural Madagascar – part 2

Life in the village is the most sustainable I’ve ever seen: there’s no running water, so buckets are used for showers and washing; most people don’t have electricity, but those who do have solar panels which they use minimally; there is absolutely zero food waste, because even fruit and vegetable peels or rice husks are …

Life in a rural Madagascar – part 1

Wow. How to convey the experience of the last week in a blog post of a few hundred words? I don’t think it’s possible, even for the most gifted writer. So you’ll have to come to Madagascar and experience it for yourself 😉 Well ok, I’ll try to at least give you a glimpse. I …

The Peloponese!

Wow! These last few weeks have been crazy! Between traveling and studying, there hasn’t been too much time for much else, including writing about everything! Two weeks ago, the CYA program took all 86 of the students on a week-long trip around the Peloponnese, or the large southern peninsula that protrudes into the Mediterranean. The …

Cultural Differences: It doesn’t just mean more baguettes.

The first thing that my roommates learn about me is that I like to go to bed early. I’m happy to wake up at 6AM, and I’m perfectly content to stay out the entire day. But when I come back to home base, I like to stay there and recover from my day filled with …

Village Life

Early Sunday morning, 11 other CIEE members and I climbed onto a mini-bus with our luggage and headed to a village known as Kanye. Yes! The village is actually named Kanye like Kanye West, but I am pretty sure the singer was named after the village, not the other way around. When we arrived at …

Meet my new family!

Meet the family Last weekend I moved in with my host family in Mahajanga, a coastal town where I’ll be staying for two weeks. This is the first of 3 homestays I’ll be doing as part of the SIT program. My host family is great. They all speak excellent French (as well as Malagasy), and …

Day Trip to Dinan!

One of the nicest things about France is the dirt cheap transportation around the region. Last weekend, my friends and I decided to visit one of the most beautiful towns in Bretagne. Dinan has a rich medieval history, so the historic district is full of buildings, walls, and towers from the middle ages. We spent …

Madagascar Runs on Rice

Today is my third day in Tana, and it is absolutely beautiful. The first time I saw Madagascar out the plane window I couldn’t stop a smile from spreading across my face. The first thing that struck me was the intensity of the colours: the soil here is reddish brown (in fact for that reason …

Taking Gabs by Africa Time!

Today was the first week of school, but not really…. at the University of Botswana, students still register during the first week of class and sometimes the professors don’t hold lectures during this time. I was also told that there is a concept called “Africa time” which means that everything starts 20 to 30 minutes …