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Watch out, it’s cold and flu season and I heard that wanderlust is pretty contagious. The summer after my junior year of high school (Summer 2015) I was blessed to with the opportunity to travel to Guatemala. Upon returning home, I was diagnosed with a severe case of wanderlust. Some would argue that I caught wanderlust before apply to be a Wandering Scholar. Some of the main symptoms of wanderlust include: an urge to expand culture horizons, a will to step beyond comfort zones, and a desire to gain a global perspective of the world.

Growing up in a single-parent household my family didn’t have extra money to take leisurely spring, summer, and winter vacations. As a result, I grew up only knowing Wisconsin and its’ adjacent states. Being a Wandering Scholar has opened my mind to new opportunities, become intercultural aware, and increased my global perspective.

I am now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Food Science with a certificate in Environmental and Community Sociology.  This past Winter Break, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Israel.  My trip to Israel was a gift from UW-Hillel and Shorashim Israel. I went to Israel because I wanted to explore and learn more about my cultural and religious identity. The pre-departure planning was similar to The Wandering Scholar. Leading up to the trip I actively engaged in cultural, language, and “current news” immersion.  I immersed myself with Israeli Culture and News, attended weekly Shabbat Dinners and services, and attended an introductory Hebrew language course. None of this was mandatory, I made the personal choice to participate in these pre-trip activities because I knew it would  make my trip more engaging and meaningful to me.

I am thankful that the Wandering Scholar helped me gain pre-departure planning, autonomy, intercultural-communication skills, and global exposure. I’ve said this before, but being a Wandering Scholar doesn’t end at the designated “10-week” mark. Everyday, I carry the skills and values that I learned from my adventure a Wandering  Scholar with me. I’ve  learned how to take responsibility for my own learning by setting goals and work towards them. In addition, I learned to be globally aware through appreciating and understanding cultural differences.

My trip to Israel was fantastic! It was a great end to 2016 and a wonderful start to 2017. Isreali culture is vibrant and fascinating, however I was surprised by the long plane ride. It is a fourteen-hour plane ride from Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv, Israel. After calculating domestic plane flights and anticipated delays it takes about 20-24 hours to travel to Israel. No matter how much pre-trip planning, it is very difficult to avoid jetlag.

My number one travel tip to first time travelers is to bring battery packs a (for phones, tablets, and e-readers) and a universal wall adaptor. There is nothing worse than being on a domestic/international flight that doesn’t have outlets under the seats. Or even worst hoovering over the designated “charging stations” at the airport. To solve this problem, just invest in a battery pack that can charge a device multiple times. Lastly, I recommend extra SD cards for cameras/phones-nobody wants to run out of storage.

At the end of the day, my number one advice to a new traveler is to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, try new things, be safe, and have fun!  Also, don’t forget to pack Vitamin C because a wanderlust is contagious. Once you get it, you’ll want to fill all the pages of your passport!

Until Next Time,
Alexis Terry read more →

There’s no denying the fact that Costa Rica has a “history of peace and neutrality” and remains one of the most peaceful countries in the world.  Therefore, researching an event that has stirred up various opinions in country like Costa Rica proved to quite an arduous task. However, as I scrolled through various Twitter headlines and clicked through countless pages on Google, I couldn’t help but realize the one issue that seemed to always pop-up.

The Costa Rica- Nicaragua San Juan River dispute dates back to 2010, and there have been hearings as recently as last year. The conflict centers around an event in 2010 when Costa Rica claimed Nicaragua crossed Costa Rican territory while dredging the San Juan River. The Nicaraguan government denies this claim by stating, “they can’t invade [their] own territory”.

The tensions have led to an array of different opinions regarding Costa Rica. In the Christian Science Monitor, Tim Rogers claimed that the dispute will “force Costa Rica to reexamine its commitment to disarmament and confront the ghosts of its wimpy image”.

NPR’s Renee Montagne gave insight on the views of many Costa Ricans. While Costa Rica sees that the land has always been their own, Google Maps mistakenly attributed that land to Nicaragua in their database.

One can clearly see the different media biases. For instance, a  CID- Gallup Poll shows that 91 percent of Nicaraguans think the crisis was caused by unclear border limits and 73 percent of Costa Ricans think the crisis is because of Nicaragua’s military invasion of their country.

Despite the contrasting opinions, it is up to the International Court of Justice to finally put an end to the dispute.

Chelsea

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131183082

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0207/Border-dispute-with-Nicaragua-has-Costa-Rica-rethinking-its-lack-of-army

 

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