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How Not to Study Abroad

By Fiona Redmond, News Editor

The articles circulating about Study Abroad seem to be endless: “10 Tips For Studying Abroad,” “Why Studying Abroad in England Was Literally The Best Choice I Have Ever Made,” “Drop Everything Immediately And Head To The Nearest Airport So You Can Study Abroad.” I could go on.

The same culture surrounding study abroad can be seen on campus at Bryn Mawr College. There are “Post Cards From Abroad” events, countless information sessions and even special dining hall nights celebrating the experiences students have had going abroad. We have a wonderful and robust support system for those who go abroad, and that is a great thing. But what about those who are left behind?

I am a junior and I won’t be studying abroad. Like, at all. As in: I will be staying on Bryn Mawr’s campus for my entire junior year. I’ll take a minute to let that sink it; I know it’s a strange thing to hear in the Bi-Co.

For some, studying abroad simply doesn’t work, whether it be for financial reasons, class schedules or just personal preference. And while studying abroad is more of a norm at Bryn Mawr than it is at other colleges, the dynamic it creates on campus still comes with its own host of complications.

For instance, while I won’t be studying abroad at all this year, all of my friends will be leaving for the spring semester. And to be honest, that makes me sad, and even a little bit anxious. How will Bryn Mawr a place that has been my home for the past two and a half years feel when the people who have helped shape my experience here are gone?

Maybe I’m being dramatic; after all, it’s not like everyone in my year is leaving for good. But while Bryn Mawr supports and encourages students to go abroad, those who are unable to can sometimes feel (literally) left behind.

It can be discouraging seeing all of those articles about why studying abroad is the best choice a student can ever make. And while I’m glad that people can experience authentic Italian food, or watch the sunset in Denmark at 3:30 p.m., that doesn’t mean that people who stay on campus are getting cheated out of a life-changing experience. It just means our junior year experiences will be different.

And let’s face it: junior year is confusing and stressful enough already. Course loads get tougher, papers get longer, and thesis writing seems to be just around the corner. Those of us who are staying shouldn’t spend time worrying that we’re missing out by staying at Bryn Mawr. Instead, we can celebrate the experiences of those we know who have the chance to go abroad and make the most of the four years that we have here in the Bi-Co.  

From the print edition published on Dec. 7, 2016

Postcards from Abroad: Lima, Peru

By Dana Gold, Contributing Writer

After spending four and a half months in Lima, Peru, my study abroad experience is coming to a close. And although I cannot yet consider myself a full limeña, I am definitely not a tourist anymore — even if the locals make me feel that way.

I am five foot one (solidly average height here) and blonde. My wardrobe is not particularly Peruvian, and although I speak Spanish fluently I still sound like a gringa. In other words, I stand out. Walking down the busy streets in my neighborhood, restaurant greeters invite me to eat there, talking to me in English. I always decline in Spanish. On the bus to and from school, I feel like a museum exhibit, often the only foreigner and/or blonde person aboard.

My travels within the country have also made me feel more “touristy” than I’d like. During school breaks and long weekends, I have taken advantage of this incredibly diverse country. I spent a week in Cusco and Machu Picchu, exploring the mountainous Incan capital and the Incan citadel that you have to see to believe. I spent one weekend sandboarding in Huacachina, another learning Afro-Peruvian dance and music in El Carmen, and another hiking in Huaraz.

At the same time, while in Lima I am starting to feel more and more like a local. I have successfully given directions on multiple occasions when I noticed that even the Peruvians being asked didn’t know the way. I have a regular café which could be dropped into the Brooklyns or Oaklands of the US. I spend a few nights a week there doing homework, and when I walk in, they ask if I want lo normal. I volunteer weekly at a non-profit that teaches domestic workers, both adults and children, about their rights as employees. During the program orientation, we learned Peruvian-specific swear words and slang, both very useful for someone my age. And, being young in Lima, I have been introduced to the hip bars and cool dance clubs. Finally, I have become very comfortable with the complicated privately-run public transportation system here, as well as with negotiating taxi fares “tourist tax” is real.

Study abroad is a magical experience that transforms you into part-tourist/part-local in just a few months. Studying at the local university (in my case taking classes in another language and as the only foreign student in some classes), mastering ‘public’ transportation, improving language skills, and living with and getting to know locals have all challenged and excited me in ways that I didn’t know were possible. My experience here in Peru has made me feel truly partly limeña.

From the print edition published on Dec. 7, 2016

Haverford Plenary Hardly “Hella Brief”

By Charlie Lynn, Staff Writer

On Sunday, September 25, the Haverford student gathered for fall plenary. The student body passed two proposed resolutions, the first which created the role of Community Outreach Multicultural Liaisons, and the second which created the role of Coordinator for Haverford Student Innovation Programs, in addition to ratifying the Alcohol Policy.

After a moment of silence, Students’ Council Co-Presidents Tristan Pepin ’18 and Ian Andolsek ’17 offered the rules for plenary and highlighted the agenda items.

The first resolution, presented by Maurice Rippel ’19 and Leah Budson ’19, created the role of Community Outreach Multicultural Liaisons (COM). The COM Liaisons would work with the Honor Council on issues related to identity. The Liaisons, who would be elected in pairs, would serve as liaisons between community members and the Honor Council. The Liaisons would not be full members of Honor Council but rather would serve as advisers and as resources for students uncomfortable with confrontation.

Prior to the beginning of Plenary, Rippel explained that, “power dynamics always exist in confrontation, whether between a Customs Person and a first-year, a black student and white student. People don’t always feel comfortable”.  

Rippel continued that he hoped the resolution would “help address issues of race in the code and start a conversation about how confrontation doesn’t work for everyone”. He stressed that these conversation were not always happening.

When the question-and-answer session began, few students had questions for the presenters. Toward the end of the ten minutes allotted for questions, some students asked how the Liaisons would be trained and whether the requirements for one member of the pair of Liaisons to be a person of color could be extended for other identity groups.

Budson and Rippel explained to the community that the liaisons would be trained, in conjunction with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, in mediation and diversity. Budson also offered that she hoped that the role would eventually be transformed into a committee which would better encompass a greater number of identities. No comments were made in favor or against the resolution during the pro-con debate.

Andolsek said he did not see the lack of pro-con debate comments on the resolution as being indicative of community-wide hesitation to talk about identity issues, a situation which Rippel had alluded to in an interview earlier.

He explained, “I am not sure this reflected a hesitation to talk about identity. This is [by agreeing to the resolution], in the eyes of the student body, something that the student body is consistently interested”. The resolution passed with no visible opposition.

The second resolution of the evening, presented by Andolsek, Pepin, Nathan Sokolic, ’19, Dorian Wirz ’17 and Yue Xiang ’17 created the position of Coordinator of Haverford Innovation Program to work with the college on issues relating to innovation initiatives on campus. Co-Presidents Andolsek and Pepin temporarily gave the responsibility of running Plenary to SC Co-Vice Presidents Julia Blake ’19 and Sergio Diaz ’17 to speak on behalf of their resolution.

The presenters highlighted the administration’s recent focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as the reason for the proposed creation of the appointed position to represent student interests in discussions. The speakers explained that the college was moving in the direction of adding more programs related to innovation and that it was the student body’s decision whether they would like a voice in these discussions.

Pepin and Andolesk - who as SC co-Presidents both have taken a direct interest in the issue - told students that they wanted to ensure that, if future presidents were not as interested in innovation initiatives, that student voices would still be heard.

During the question-and-answer session and pro-con debate, students questioned the necessity of the position.

Daniel Washburn ’17 said, “I don’t see a huge ground swelling of interest [in these programs]” He explained that he believed that the administrator was simply seeking legitimacy for a decision that had already been made. The resolution easily passed, however there were numerous votes in opposition to the resolution.

The debate to ratify the Alcohol Policy led to the most controversial and contentious portion of the evening. After a length of discussion with JSAAPP chairs Michael Bueno ’18 and Brandon Alleyne ’17, two groups of students proposed friendly amendments to the Alcohol Policy. One proposal led by Kevin Medansky ’19 sought to amend the Alcohol Policy to include JSAAPP’s Party Guidelines. A second group of students offered a proposal for JSAAPP to form a committee to conduct regular surveys on alcohol culture at Haverford.

Numerous objections were raised regarding the constitutionality of such a proposal as well as what the proposed survey would look like. After lengthy discussions among students, Andolsek and Pepin announced that they believed a vote on the proposals would not be allowed since making changes to the Alcohol Policy was not on the plenary agenda. They explained changes to the agenda had to have been made before discussing the first resolution.

Many students, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed frustration that the issue was not resolved as soon as the amendments were proposed.  

However, Andolsek was quick to push back on that assessment. He explained, “The way the constitution is written now, it’s not exactly a homogeneous document. If you read it line by line you can see that things don’t always add up. It was not until later when we realized the constitution leans more on the side of this is being something that we can’t do.”

Despite the unconstitutional debate regarding the changes to the Alcohol Policy, which extended the length of plenary, students generally agreed the evening was worthwhile. Elana Kates ’19 summed up her feelings on plenary saying that “the act is hard to sit through. However, even if I get bored, being involved is part of being of this community.”

From the print edition published on Oct. 5, 2016

LGBT Comedy at Bryn Mawr with Lauren Faber

By Diana Pope, Staff Writer

[This article contains material that may be inappropriate for some audiences]

This past Thursday, Lauren Faber came to Bryn Mawr College to offer a stand-up comedy special filled with hilarious insights on dating, studying abroad, and bathroom laws. A Bryn Mawr alumnus, Faber has performed stand-up comedy across the country. In her time as a comedian, she has opened for Joe Zimmerman and, in 2016, won the title of North Carolina’s “Funniest Comic.” She currently coaches students who are interested in comedy as part of the DSI Standup Corps.

Faber’s show was comedic relief for Bryn Mawr students after an emotional week in the tumultuous election season. She commented on the dominance of male leaders in our political system, prompting cheers and laughs when she asked, “Do you ever feel like the world is being held at dick-point?”

Along with her sarcasm about this past election, she talked about her experience as a lesbian. She told stories about how multiple people have confused her for a male in public bathrooms, and laughed about all the reactions she had received from random individuals in these situations. She also discussed her experience coming out to her family members, and talked about how she dressed up as Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid for nine years in a row during Halloween to give a hint to her parents.

Faber also shared stories from her time as a student at Bryn Mawr College. During her time here, she studied abroad in Egypt. She was drugged by someone while she was in Cairo and got many laughs from the audience when she asked, “Have you ever gotten so drunk that you woke up on another continent?”

Faber stated that she chose to come to BMC over Columbia University because it “seemed like an incredibly happy, nurturing place”. After attending Bryn Mawr, she moved to North Carolina and started taking comedy classes as a side hobby. Eventually, Faber’s interest in comedy morphed into a full-time career. She loves comedy because she thinks that it is a “super therapeutic way of dealing with embarrassing things.”

This comedian has left her mark on Bryn Mawr, and her show was well worth the wait. The college is planning to feature more LGBT comedians in the future for a new comedy series. It is inspiring to know that Bryn Mawr is home to such witty and hilarious individuals as Faber.