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Showing posts from March, 2014

A spring break well spent

I find that the best way to explore a city is to get lost within it. Once all the iConference workshops and presentations ended, I spent my last couple of days in Berlin wandering apart from my group. In addition to "people watching" at the local cafe and getting souvenirs for family and friends, I also took self-guided walks in several of the tourist attractions on my bucket list—most notably, the Pergamon Museum (their version of the Smithsonian) and the Reichstag (their version of The White House, pictured above). These two visits in tandem painted a holistic picture of Germany's past and provided a contemporary outlook on the country's current affairs. The historian within me drew interesting parallels between Germany and the United States, as these two countries actually have much more in common than meets the eye.

One week flew by way too quickly. I wish I could have stayed in Germany longer, but I really feel that I made the most out of my time here. Fortunat…

A week in a hostel

Traveling on a budget? Hostels are the way to go. For those who’ve never stayed in one, it’s surprisingly inexpensive. Seven nights in a hostel roughly equates to one night in a nice hotel. The catch is that you’ll be sharing quarters in a 4-6 person, but if you’re a social person and not afraid of meeting people, this shouldn’t be a problem for you at all. Think about it: why waste time paying for a five-star hotel if you’re going to be exploring the city, anyway? Plus, there’s still added amenities included, such as Wi-Fi and continental breakfast.

I stayed at Berlin One 80 and I really valued my hostel experience in Germany. I roomed with two college students from Afghanistan, and I learned a tremendous amount of their culture and customs in a short amount of time. Since they’ve been in Berlin for half a year already, they took me through a typical nightlife scene for people our age. Had I roomed by myself in a regular hotel, I probably would have spent the night watching YouTube—…

iConference 2014

As a first-year doctoral student in information science and technology, it was important for me to attend the iConference to share my research with scholars across across varied disciplines (e.g., education, public administration, sociology). This conference allowed me to see the emerging research topics relevant to the information science study, as well as interact with program directors from other iSchools who are actively sharing employment opportunities that can further my development. My attendance positively contributed to Syracuse University’s overall presence in the iConference as one of the premiere and leading information schools of its kind.

This year, the iConference received 113 papers and accepted 39, which accounted for a 34.5% acceptance rate for papers. The 2014 iConference was my first peer-reviewed venue where I not only presented the findings of my paper ("Digital Inclusion for Migrant Millennials: Improving the ICT Landscape of Yakima Valley Schools"), …

Slytherin vibes: Feeling smart and dangerous

I like structure. And that’s why I like traveling in groups. Not only is there safety in numbers, but people generally have an idea of what the collective should do when exploring the city. My Syracuse contingent and I took a walking tour of Berlin on the first day of arrival, which I thought was a smart decision. Our tour group was predominantly English-speaking (we had Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders, the works), and since our tour guide was from the United States, we had an easy time communicating with everyone. And the best part of it all? The tour was free! We were able to see:
Brandenburg GateAldon Hotel (where Michael Jackson dangled a baby over its balcony)Memorial of the Murdered JewsThe place where Hitler died (we stood on top of the underground fortress)Some tax office Berlin WallBerlin Square
Berlin is a city that’s aware of its dark history. Following the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, much of the city went through restoration, and the city was rebuilt by its…

Off to Berlin!

I haven’t been back to Europe since I was 20 years old. That’s the equivalent of a leap year ago from where I am now. Back then, I was still exploring my sense of place in the world as a young college student. What I liked most about traveling was that it made me feel unrestricted—I could put my current life on standstill and do something entirely different than my routine.

There’s a part of me that comes alive in Europe. I’ve missed listening to jazz on the banks of the Seine River in Paris with the locals, indulging in gelato during those hot summer nights in Rome alongside friends, surviving a one-on-one altercation alone at knifepoint in the bazaars of Istanbul, and wandering around the Red Light District in Amsterdam with a group of complete strangers. Fortunately for me, all these excursions were made possible through UW’s great study abroad programs—and I never had to pay a penny out of my pocket for these experiences because of financial aid.

The travel bug in me has reawaken…