War and Pissed

by Marianna Hunt, Russian – A Tale of the Love between a Nation and Distilled Ethanol In fair Kievan Rus, we lay our scene in 980, with Prince Vladimir and the very dawn of the Russian nation. Vladimir, the new leader, decided to symbolically cement the uniting of Russia with the adoption of a common…

How Amman Stole my Heart

by Emmeline Skinner Cassidy, Arabic –  Amman is not a stunningly beautiful city. It is not the sort of city in which you arrive and, after five minutes of sauntering down picturesque streets, find yourself falling madly in love with its urban charm. It is neither a stereotypically ancient and “exotic” Middle Eastern city of…

Haiti: Unravelling a Paradox of Poverty and Privilege

by Ianthe Greenwood, French and German –    Haiti was not an obvious year abroad destination. Until very recently the British government warned against non-essential travel, health warnings abound about the Chikungunya virus, the mosquito borne virus which has affected most of the population, and the international media largely present it as a doomed economy,…

Hong Kong: A View from the Bathroom Floor

by Billy Beswick, Chinese –    We were supposed to go to the Tian Tan Buddha that morning. We were going to get up early and make our way to Lantau Island by ferry. A classmate from Hong Kong had told us that the views were spectacular, and that any vegetarian visiting the city would…

Crossing Borders

by Katie Graham, French and German – A border is a dividing line. It’s the point at which one country ends, and another, different one begins, one which has its own language, its own culture, and its own identity. At least, that was how I imagined borders before I found myself living just seven hundred metres away from one. I’m currently working as a language assistant on the very edge of France, in a town called Saint-Louis on the French-Swiss-German border. It’s a place where boundaries betwee

Italian Stereotypes

by Aurelia Specker, Italian –    Pizza, Dante, Berlusconi and football. Italy may well take up less than 1% of the surface area on Earth, but nobody can claim that they know nothing about it. Whether positive or negative, the stereotypes that stem from our conception of the country are endless. Having lived and worked…

The Other Side to the Great Wall of China

by Serena Chang, Chinese –    Looking out over the dense natural green forestry, the rise and fall of the mountains with the tell-tale backbone of bricks following every pattern, it’s not difficult to see why The Great Wall of China has been listed by some as one of the seven wonders of the world.…

The City with a Scar at its Heart

by Thea Bradbury, German –   One of the many privileges of a year abroad spent in Berlin has been the opportunity to be present for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Wall. Built in August 1961 and dismantled twenty-eight years later during the slow collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the Berlin Wall…

Roubles aren’t worth peanuts almonds

by Lewis Spring, Russian and French –    A few months ago, in early October, I was engaged in a delicate trade with a very enthusiastic Caucasian fruit-seller at the market in Yaroslavl, who was enthusiastically advertising his nuts and berries. I was sure that only a few hundred grams of dried fruit would be…