Chandler Collins is a 2nd Year student in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is attending the UVA Exchange: Hitotsubashi University program this semester.
We took an early morning bus to Mt. Fuji’s Yoshida-Subaru 5th Station, a small simulacrum of a Japanese city perched 2,000m into the clouds, where we began the 7-hour ascent to the summit. Since Mt. Fuji is a volcano, there is no foliage at the summit to block the harsh sub-freezing winds from sapping our body’s heat. We huddled together on the rocky ground and waited as the sun rose through the clouds and over Kawaguchiko, the small town below Fuji-san. In this image, Keelyn McCabe braces against the cold wind and attempts to steady our UVA (pronounced Baa-ji-ni-ya in my broken Japanese) flag against the sub-freezing winds. An old Japanese adage rings true, “Only a fool goes to Japan and doesn’t climb Mt. Fuji. An even bigger fool climbs it twice.”
Pictured is my completed “Mt. Fuji Stick,” a 2 ft. long wooden stick which climbers get branded at each mountain hut along the ascent up the mountain. Each hut has a unique brand, marking the name of the mountain hut/station.
After the sun rose, we began the 1500m descent over a 6km trail dusted with volcanic ash which bored its way into our clothing and gnaw on our feet with each new step. In this image, we’d yet to descend through the clouds. [L to R: Gabriel Aguto, Blaise Sevier, Keelyn McCabe]
Additionally, Collin has created a travel video to recap his adventures, you can find one for Mt. Fuji here (https://youtu.be/Co2nKR_b7GA)
Teresa Nowalk is a history major who attended the UVA in Italy: Siena Program in Spring 2017 during her second year.
Italy. I can’t stop saying it or thinking about it… Soon I will be in Italy to study for about five months, which will be the longest time I have ever been out of the country. Part of me is of course excited, and who wouldn’t? Gelato, pasta, pizza, mozzarella… But beyond the food, there is the history, art, and the culture. Those are the three things I want to focus on when I am not preoccupied with the dinner table and my stomach (not that I plan on going hungry in Italy). Since I am a history and (most likely) anthropology double major these next five months will be a really neat way to see my studies come alive. To me, Siena will be a recharge: a perfect halfway point for my studies as I conclude my second year.
Many of my thoughts go toward my homestay. I wrestled with whether to do one or not and am still not 100% certain about it. So we will see how my thoughts on the homestay will change later in the semester. But right now, my inner anthropologist is nervously excited to live in an Italian home. I love learning about how different countries eat dinner and what foods they eat in general so I am excited to branch out of the (American) Italian restaurants and their breadsticks. I also love learning about how other countries think about the US, so hopefully as my Italian goes from rusty to only somewhat rusty I will be able to understand why we are the ugly Americans (or not!)… But beyond this, I am looking forward to my sampling of Siena.
But most importantly, I have a few goals while abroad. Perhaps I am naïve and drank the study abroad kool-aid, but I hope to become more confident when I am abroad… And like everyone hopes to have better grip on the future, I hope to figure out what I want to do with two humanity degrees by the time I come back. More personally, I am determined to be more social and befriend as many people as possible. This is because, for me, as much as I want to have great stories when I come back, I also want to have others’ stories because an adventure should never be an individual experience. So to both my future self and to my readers: here’s to the stories and Italia.
Katin Tran is currently studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Take a look at her photos thus far!
The main entrance to the Namsangol Hanok Folk Village. Namsan Park, located in the center of Seoul, has many entry points, including this grand gate that opens up to an array of traditional-style buildings.
The main performance stage of Namsangol Hanok Folk Village. Large folk and traditional performances are held on this stage as the stage and its surrounding area are both spacious and wide. When not in use, anyone can walk around it and also lounge in the structure behind it. Make sure to take your shoes off first!
Entrance to Seoul’s Thousand Year Time Capsule. Located in the Namsangol Hanok Village, this time capsule was buried in 1994 to commemorate Seoul’s 600 year anniversary as the country’s capital city. The capsule itself is buried in an open space, but that space is enclosed within elevated walls and fences. To reach the capsule, one must walk down stone pathways.
Wall inscriptions about the Thousand Year Time Capsule. The inscriptions lie directly across from the entrance to the capsule and are inscribed in both Korean and English, a plus for international tourists! The capsule’s name comes from its future opening in one thousand years from its date of burial, and inside the capsule lies 600 chosen representative cultural items.
The entrance to Jogyesa temple in central Seoul. The temple is conveniently located in the middle of the city, making it very accessible to those coming to and from work. As such, the temple is very popular and full of people, even on weekdays. The temple is currently adorned with colorful lanterns in preparation for Buddha’s birthday.
The Great Hero Hall of Jogyesa. As the central building on the temple grounds, the elevated hall serves as the primary meditation space. The outside walls, as well as the inside ones, are decorated with murals of important moments in the Buddhist religion.
Central altar in the Great Hero Hall at Jogyesa. Gigantic in size, the three-set of Buddhas on the central altar are atypically larger than most of the statues found at temples. The overwhelming size provides a larger sense of presence and can make meditators feel mentally closer to Buddha. Worshippers will often provide donations in a box to the side of the altar or provide food offerings on the altar.
Kelly Miller is a 1st year, Biomedical Engineering Student studying on the UVA Engineering in Germany: Global Ingenuity 21 program.
This is one of the largest Catholic Churches in Berlin. Surrounded by a large lawn where people gather and hang out when the weather is nice, the bells begin ringing 5 minutes before the hour and fill the air with the ringing. The picture depicts the beautiful sun set behind the towering steeples
The iconic gate and entrance to the city is topped by the victory statue, at first meant to symbolize freedom but after WWII, symbolizes victory to the city.
A church that had to be rebuilt after bombing during WWII. The catholic church has a beautiful stained glass window.
This is a replica of the sign that was displayed at the border of the Russian and American sector of Berlin. Every person moving between the border had to pass through Checkpoint Charlie ( Charlie serves as the military code for C ).
During the divide of the city, the East Berlin side had different symbols for “walking” and “stopping” on the traffic lights. When the city was reunited as one, the East Berliners where very adamant about keeping the Ampelmännchen since it was a symbol of their side of the city. To this day, one can tell where they are ( West vs East ) when walking around the city based off of the walk lights.
The Elbe is the river that flows through Dresden. While up on the tower of the museum, the statues surrounding the church had the appearance of overlooking the river, as if protecting the city
At a local museum in Dresden, we were able to climb to the top of a bell tower and get a 360 degree view of the city. Though this is not a full 360 view, there are multiple churches and museums included in the shot, including the Catholic church.