The Power of a Passport

by Sophie Dowle, Arabic:- “We’ll miss you! When will you be back in Jordan?” asks one of my friends who’s from Iraq but lives in Jordan.“I’m not sure”, I reply. “Maybe next summer, it depends whether I come back here or
go to a different Arabic speaking country. You should come visit me in Britain! It’s really lovely!”I say it without thinking, I’d love to show my friends the dreaming spires of Oxford and the green grass of home.“I’m not sure we’ll be let in.”They say it in a jokey tone, but the

Two Sides of Brazil

After an exciting stint in Lisbon, the second part of my year abroad took me from one side of the Lusophone world to the other. With the idea of doing a linguistics research project in Brazil, I asked for advice from a tutor, and set about planning a trip to Salvador, which I knew very little about.As I learnt before going, Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia, in Brazil’s Northeast. It is known for being one of the most dangerous cities in the world, for having the best Carnaval in Bra

“Free and Sovereign”

by William Webb, Spanish and French– Bill witnessed the recent re-establishing of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA from the Cuban side. This article, originally written at the time in July gives his account of this and more broadly some of his other experiences living in its capital: From outside the Chancery building, which…

O Canada, au Québec

by Nathaniel Hunt, French and Russian:-   If you reduce all that Canada is into two adjectives, it is unfathomably big and unquestionably beautiful. Flying into Montreal from the UK in late June, both of these truths became evidently clear from my viewpoint thirty thousand feet up. While the entirety of the British Isles had…

My New Favourite Non-Country

by Simon Posner, Italian:- It was early afternoon in Northern Italy, and I was already on my fourth train of the day. Ever since Mussolini famously “at least made the trains run on time”, Italy has been unified by the rail network Trenitalia, a fleet of questionable locomotives with blue rubber seats, broken air conditioning…

The Czech Republic from the Train

by Miriam Gordis, Czech and French:-   My fondest memory of the Czech Republic will be the endless train journeys. The first Czech film to win an Academy Award, Closely Watched Trains (1966), solidly cemented their iconic place in the culture. In one famous scene from the film, the protagonist, who works on a railroad,…

A Very Russian Temperament

A Very Russian Temperament by Harriet Buckley, Russian and Czech:- Despite the fact that I studied Russian for the majority of my time at school and then at university, I had never actually been to Russia until my year abroad and had never met any “real” Russians. Sometimes people in the UK are too quick…

Is Exorcism the Key to Thawing Sino-Japanese relations?

By Lauren Finch, Chinese and International Relations:- This was originally written in November 2014 after being inspired by both Leo Lewis’ article and the progressive Sino-Japanese meeting at the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. Lauren spent the year studying at Peking University and is currently working towards a research project before her final year. The…

Somewhere in La Mancha…

by Kelsey Hibbitt, Spanish and English Literature:- A year in Ciudad Real, Spain – the place whose name is not even remembered in Don Quixote…   En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme… (Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember…) This is…