The GoGlobal Blog

Month: July 2012

Beijing Bound

Beijing Bound

My Visa is being processed in New York City, my textbooks are being shipped from various warehouses, and I sit around in Cincinnati. That sentence describes about where I am in my life right now, suspended and waiting.

If you are reading this blog, you probably are interested in the Beijing Center and want to look at Loyola’s different programs from a student perspective. I hope I can be of help to you with a student’s perspective of Beijing and the other parts of China I will be traveling to on our planned Silk Road expedition.

Well, if you are going to be reading this blog I guess I better give my credentials and background history so that you may understand better where I am coming from with my writing.

My name is Jimmy Siegel, I’m a 21 year old Senior at Loyola majoring in Religious Studies with minors in Asian World Studies, Asian Languages and Literatures, and Islamic World Studies. My major’s concentration is on dharmic centered faiths, which are religions stemming from India. I have studied abroad in India the summer of my Freshman year with a State Department Hindi Language program, and I was one of the first five inaugural students at Loyola’s new Viet Nam Center in the spring of my Sophomore year. Last year I did not travel, but instead brought an exchange student from Japan into my own home for a semester and got to know several Chinese students by being an American host student. I have taken several classes at Loyola concerning China, the latest being a history class on the Ming and Qing Dynasties. I was also in a class that focused a great deal of time on China’s Cultural Revolution. All of these experiences have shaped me in ways that will make me unique among the Loyola students in Beijing this semester and will give me different lenses with which to view things, and in turn, share with you. I will not be giving you regurgitated tour book information, but informed thoughts and stories of the experiences I have.

The nature of my major is comparing and analyzing different religions, so that may carry over to this blog. Drawing on previous knowledge, I may try to make comparisons between South Asia (India), Southeast Asia (Viet Nam), and East Asia (Beijing). You may also be reading a lot about pagodas…

This is not my first blog abroad. I wrote a blog for Viet Nam too. I was having such a great time in Viet Nam that I wasn’t as faithful to my blog as I had hoped. Let’s see if I can be more successful the second time around.

Before I leave this first entry be, I should probably answer an important question asked of many people when the go abroad. Why?

China: 4,000 years of continuous culture, ancient religions, the world’s most spoken language, new people to meet and points of view to hear, new food to try, and a chance to be in Asia for an extended period of time.

Many Americans thinking of China as a superpower is a new development. Well, history is cyclical. For hundreds of years Beijing was the center of the world. Tribute would arrive from the vassal states of Korea, Annam (Viet Nam), Burma, Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, and all over Asia. Long before Rome was conquering the Mediterranean or New York’s elite felt the wealth of the world flow through their fingers, the Chinese had an effective government system and a culture that pervaded most of East Asia. The ancient Chinese called themselves ‘The Middle Kingdom’ and Beijing was its capital. I will have the chance to live in a city that once ruled ‘its’ world. After the 2008 Olympics, Beijing has shown that history is cyclical; again China is ready to take a leading role. Beijing is in the crossroads of ancient city meets the future. Bigger than New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles combined Beijing is huge. So to make the answer simple of why- Why not? Now is the time to go. To learn of Beijing’s history, to live and enjoy in the present, and to look to the future of a growing China. So now I turn the question to you- Will you join me?

You Gotta Run Real Far Before You Ever Feel Close to Home

You Gotta Run Real Far Before You Ever Feel Close to Home

Benvenuti!  I’m excited that I can share my experiences here; I’m sure they will be plentiful.

I feel odd posting an entry before I even leave, but then again, it’s been an experience just preparing myself to leave!  I have been planning on studying abroad in Rome ever since I sent that deposit off to Loyola two years ago, so this has been a long time coming.  I’ve been planning my schedule around what classes I could and couldn’t take in Rome since my freshman orientation! And as for saving money for it, I was blessed to find a full time paid summer internship that is making everything seem that much more real!

All the planning should make it feel more real, but alas, I still can’t completely wrap my head around it.  I mean, you’re telling me there’s a country full of people even more in love with coffee than me?  A country with gelato so good that American ice cream is a joke?  A country that devotes itself to eating great food, and drinking fine wines?  A country with so many gorgeous cathedrals that it’d be a miracle in itself for me to see all of them?  A country with so much history, that a history buff like me will feel like I’m in heaven?  I’ve been told all of these things are true, but being that I’ve never left America, I’m afraid it all seems fictional to me still.

I’m excited, I’m ambitious, and I’m terrified.  But mostly excited. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all!

Ciao for now,

Patrick Gilsenan

P.S. The title is from the song Not There Yet by Eric Hutchinson

A Waiting Game.

A Waiting Game.

Stephanie Morrow, World Traveler…well not yet…it is more like Stephanie Morrow, American Mid-West Traveler; BUT that title is too long so I am going to stick with the first.

I have spent the majority of my life in the mid-west region of the United States, living in a secure Kansas City suburb.  Most of my preteen travels included vacations to Colorado and Iowa to visit the grandparents and to partake in many family bonding activities.  In my teen years, I began to branch out to the far ends of our country, California and Washington D.C. to name a few, for mission experiences. As college approached, I boldly chose what very few choose to do from my high school and that was to go out of state for Undergraduate school.  So, my recent college years have involved bus, plane, and train rides from Chicago to Kansas City and back again; wherever I could find the cheapest deal.

On August 23rd, 2012 I will begin the international chapter in my life and ignite my Fall 2012 semester in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Many inquiring minds have asked, “Why Vietnam?”  I just tell them, “Why not!” or if it is a close friend or relative I say sarcastically with confidence, “Because I CAN!”  But in reality I was encouraged by a high school teacher (Mr. Gatewood I hope you are reading this) to go ANYWHERE in your undergraduate experience if you get the opportunity.  This is my opportunity and I have very few expectations.

I know when my plane takes off and lands.  I know what classes I will take.  I know where I will be living.  I can look at other student photos and imagine the surroundings.  I know I will become accustomed to the cockroaches (thanks Anthony for the heads up).  But, as I know all of these things I really have no idea how I will feel or react to a drastically different environment and culture.  I am anxious and excited and COMPLETELY freaked out.

The game of waiting has begun.  It is the slowest game I have ever played.


In attesa di Roma!

In attesa di Roma!

With just under two months left until school, I am sure most of you are just as anxious as I am to get back.  Though I will miss the lazy days of summer, not having to stress over finals, and the luxury of having a room all to myself, I can’t wait to be in Rome.  Yes, Rome.  The Eternal City where Audrey Hepburn took a holiday, Nat King Cole sang a sad goodbye, Julius Caesar dictated, and countless men and women have tossed their coins in the hopes of one day returning to this breathtaking city.

Ever since I submitted my application way back in November, I have been nervously counting the days until my departure.  Travel books have been bought and lists of countries to visit have been made.  Soon, I will have to start the daunting task of deciding what to pack.  You would think it would be fairly simple.  Not so.  Since I will be gone a whole year, I have to pack for virtually every type of weather and situation.  But, with TSA’s limitations on the number of bags I can bring aboard the plane, my number of clothes and other necessities has dwindled to a scary few.

I am that girl who packs every piece of clothing she owns, justifying this insane packing style by saying, “who knows what type of mood I’ll be in!”  Disregarding practicality and weather, I pack for style, comfort, mood, and worst-case scenarios.  Sure, I will be shopping in Italy.  Who wouldn’t?  But until I go shopping, I have to have options.  This poses an enormous problem to my sanity and packing abilities.  I am so unsure of what to pack and what to leave at home that I’m pretty sure I will still be packing the morning of my flight.  I can imagine being in the car, halfway there, and wishing I had packed that extra pair of shoes, or that hat I might need for running.  What is my solution to this packing dilemma?  Well, for now, it’s to not think about it.  Instead, I will just continue to focus on the mountains of gelato, coffee, cannoli, pasta, and pizza that I will be consuming.  Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “by eating all that she’ll have to buy new clothes anyways.”  Well…let’s just pray it doesn’t come to that.  I guess that is what running is for!

While the next seven-ish weeks will, hopefully, give me plenty of time to prepare myself for all things foreign, it will be a struggle to contain my excitement.  To me, studying in Rome means opportunities, traveling trips, immersion, growth, and the inevitable (and petrifying) experience of getting lost.  It will be quite entertaining to see how these next several months turn out.  Fingers crossed that I survive!

Ciao per ora,


Fifty days to go…

Fifty days to go…

I just got back from the Italian Consulate of Detroit this morning, and can’t believe this is actually happening– I’ve been waiting my entire life to study abroad in Europe, and I’m only 50 days away from my arrival in Rome!  I plan to travel as much as I can and fully immerse myself in Italian culture while studying at the JFRC. Wishing the days could go by faster…Here’s to the start of a truly fantastic semester!

“I’ll believe it when I land”

“I’ll believe it when I land”

As usual I’m going around telling my friends, “I’ll believe it when I land.” Somehow I’m still in disbelief that I’m leaving in a little over a month and a half.  Studying in another country, living and experiencing the culture on a daily basis is not something I thought would happen when I began Loyola. I’m so excited for this experience (nervous of course), but I know I’ll have an amazing end to my career as an undergraduate.

So, Visa application has been sent in and everything is set. Time to wait for August 30th.

Is it called study ‘abroad’ when you are going home?

Is it called study ‘abroad’ when you are going home?

When I told people at Loyola that I wanted to study abroad in Rome this year, some of them were confused. They asked me, “why study abroad in the country that your family is from?” Well, to me, it isn’t just studying abroad. My year abroad will give me an opportunity that I never had during vacations to Italy did in previous years. When I go on vacation in Italy, I hang out with friends and family, go out all the time, and don’t do much else. My laundry is always done, my meals are always prepared, and I usually don’t have to pay for anything. While this is wonderful and I love it, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a true sense of living as an Italian. My family lives in Calabria, which is in the very south of Italy, not very close to Rome. This means that I’ll be having to do my own chores and learn to get around the city on my own. This whole year to me is an opportunity to take a test drive of living an Italian lifestyle. I’ll have to work, go to school, and learn about Rome on my own.

As great as it will be to gain some independence abroad, the best part about me studying in Rome is that it is only a 40 minute plane ride away from my hometown! This means, lots of visits back and forth from my cousins, aunts, and uncles. I love living in the U.S., but the one things that really stinks is that I live so far from most of my family. So now is my chance to spend some time with them. This year is going to be full of adventure and excitement. I can’t wait to share it with you all!