Read what three correspondents have to say so far about their time abroad. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Pendulum tomorrow for news from around Elon … and around the world.
Peter Gallagher – Copenhagen, Denmark
During my first few days in Copenhagen, I was amazed to see so few overweight people. Being an American, I am accustomed to around one-third of the population being overweight. But after walking, biking, running, more biking and finally more walking through the city and to classes every day, I completely understand why everyone seems so healthy. Danes get so much exercise just by commuting around the city that it’s hard not to live an active lifestyle. Even the menu at McDonald’s seems to promote healthy living. From rye-bread sandwiches to sides of carrots, Danish fast food is much healthier than fast food in the United States.
Katie Moran – Quito, Ecuador
The amount of robberies on Americans and foreigners is astounding. The assumption is that we all have a lot of money and expensive gadgets, which is partially true. But these robbers use knives to cut open bags on crowded bus rides and use distraction methods to pickpocket you while you’re in a frenzy. In the last two days, three of my friends have been robbed. One girl’s phone was taken out of a zipped pocket in her purse. Another was wearing a secret money belt under her shirt, but someone cut open the bottom of it and stole $100 while she was distracted. Another girl left her bag with some friends in McDonald’s and three people came by and swiped it off when no one was looking. Similar things happen in places like New York, but to be subject to it all day, every day here is very tiring.
Chelsea Vollrath – Beijing, China
When he heard about my adventures abroad, my Chinese teacher from high school sent me some words of wisdom. One of the critical aspects of living in China is that “no questions means all problems,” he said. In Chinese culture, it is up to the listener to comprehend what is being said. In the United States, it is the opposite. We will ask questions if we don’t understand something because it is up to the speaker to make us understand. But in accordance with the Chinese concept of “mianzi,” or saving face, which is so important to their culture, people will deny having any questions or being confused. Even with the warning, adjusting has not been easy. It often results in incorrect food orders and uncomfortable bouts of silence. But during the past few weeks, trying to adjust to this has made me more patient. It has also given me even more motivation to improve my Chinese.